Water Pressure Problems Complicate New York Blaze

Poor water pressure, blinding snow and frigid temperatures hampered the efforts of firefighters at a vacant commercial building fire in Syracuse.

The original dispatch at 4:24 was for a reported fire on the second floor of 3006 James St.

Police on the scene prior to the fire department arrival radioed a confirmed working fire. Engine companies 17, 9 and 10, Trucks 4 and 5, the Rescue Company and District Chief Joe Mullen (Car 4) arrived to find a well involved vacant two story ordinary commercial building, with the bulk of fire showing on the second floor.

Command made the decision early on to keep firefighters out of the structure. The signal 99 (working fire) brought District Chief Don Johnson, Safety Officer Lt Elton Davis and the duty Deputy Chief Stu Cavuto. It became readily apparent that water pressure and volume were going to be a hinder at the operation. The "Eastwood" section of the city has a history of poor water for firefighting purposes.

Aerial devices from both engines and trucks were used to maximize the application of the limited water. The building contained a sizable cockloft, which once involved, proved difficult to penetrate with streams until the roof burned through.

Three additional engine companies, Engines 6, 7 and 8 were brought in for manpower. Deputy Chiefs Jeff Daly and Paul Linnertz also responded.