Miss. Fire Victim Says Hydrant Failed

JACKSON, Miss. --

A Jackson family lost their home to a fire Tuesday morning, but they said it may have been saved if a nearby fire hydrant had been working.

We lost everything, fire victim Gambraill Martin said.

A shell is all that is left of the home Martin shared with his aunt and another relative. Martin and his family were at a family get-together at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, when a neighbor called to tell them the house was on fire.

Man, I was trying to hold my auntie up -- she just broke down crying, Martin said.

The homeowner said fire investigators told her the fire started in a bedroom.

A number of neighbors told WAPT News that they were concerned about how long it took firefighters to get water from a fire hydrant that was just a few feet from the house. Some said firefighters worked with the hydrant for 20 minutes before ever getting water.

How in the world is it that the water hydrant doesn't even work when you get here? Martin asked.

WAPT called Fire Investigator Greg Travis to get to the bottom of what happened. He said firefighters did not report having any trouble with the water supply or fire hydrants.

"They did everything along the guidelines that they were supposed to do in putting out the fire," Travis said.

In 2009, WAPTs investigation revealed more than 200 fire hydrants across the city don't work. The city could not even tell WAPT where all of the faulty hydrants are located. It is the responsibility of the Public Works Department to fix the hydrants.

Martin said his aunt had insurance on her home and they can replace what they lost. But he wants the city held accountable for fixing the faulty hydrants.

We lost everything, but there is nothing we can do but keep our trust in God and know that everything is going to be all right, Martin said.

Fire investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire.

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