New Orleans Firefighters Struggle with Lack of Water to Battle Blazes

Firefighters battling blazes caused by everything from natural gas leaks to candle accidents are paradoxically struggling with a shortage of usable water in the flood-ravaged city.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Firefighters battling blazes caused by everything from natural gas leaks to candle accidents are paradoxically struggling with a shortage of usable water in the flood-ravaged city.

It could take weeks or months before the city regains water service and electricity, meaning people will continue burning candles to light their homes.

''I'm sure there's going to be a lot more fires,'' Fire Capt. Scott Chappuis said Tuesday.

Unclean river and flood water can be used to fight fires but only as a last resort. The contaminates and debris damage the pumping systems, fire officials said.

The lack of water has forced the department to consolidate all its operations in Algiers, the only section of the city that has water service and working hydrants.

However, Algiers is across the Mississippi River from the vast majority of the city, forcing fire trucks to make time-consuming trips to fill up with water.

At least four fires broke out in the city before noon Tuesday.

Editor's Note: What is not stated in the above article is something truly inspirational. Several of Tueaday's fires were fought by not only New Orleans Bravest, but also by those 'other' Bravest from FDNY. Somewhat fitting that two cities that have been most impacted by disaster in our country in the last few years find themselves working together, with FDNY returning the favor of so many departments that helped them after 9/11. While the questions abound about the Federal response to this disaster, no one should question the dedication and desire of the countless firefighters, EMTs and rescue workers who are now sacrificing their own lives to travel hundreds, or thousands of miles, to lend a hand. Its not mentioned enough in the full media. But certainly here its the most appreciated thing. For more information on ways you can help, from giving a t-shirt, to donating money for responder relief efforts, or adopting a firehouse in need, please visit our Adopt a Firehouse site. -- Dave J. Iannone, Publisher