Frozen hydrants blamed for delay in fire response at apartment c - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Frozen hydrants blamed for delay in fire response at apartment complex


Authorities say a fire started in apartment number five, a second floor apartment at Glen Oaks at 6:40 Monday morning.

Crews stayed on the scene throughout the afternoon to handle hot spots.

Two adult females were in the apartment.  Multiple calls came in to the 911 center from inside the building.

Thirty people were evacuated from all 24 units. Twelve units closest to apartment five received the most damage.  The rest of the apartment building sustained minor smoke and water damage.

"There's a fire wall between 12 units that were on one side and 12 units that were on the side that they were able to reenter. Basically, we were able to mount an exterior defensive attack at that point. So, our attack along with that fire wall basically saved half the building,” said Sioux City Fire Tom Everett.

As authorities went to attack the fire Monday morning, they realized there wasn't any water.  Three hydrants on the property were inoperable.

Fire Chief Tom Everett said one wouldn't even open.  After a short delay, they were able to get two other hydrants to work.

Right now, freezing temperatures are getting the blame the broke hydrants, which allowed the fire to spread to the apartment above.

“You know, it certainly didn't help. I hate to speculate because with these situations you never know how things are going to go. Obviously, it did create a frustrating, but more importantly a dangerous situation. When you lose water the firefighters lose all the protection they have against the elements they're fighting,” said Everett.

Everett said the fire marshal won't be able to start his investigation until Tuesday.  Right now, they're just trying to secure the apartment building, to make it safe for investigators to get in.

None of the residents were hurt. However, Lieutenant Tom DeBondt fell 25-30 feet after a ladder slipped on the ice.

He was braced by his large suit and is recovering at home with bumps and bruises.

Residents who’ve been displaced by the blaze are being assisted by the American Red Cross.

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