Fighting fires without hydrants in Lubbock County - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Fighting fires without hydrants in Lubbock County

Source: Caleb Holder Source: Caleb Holder
Source: Caleb Holder Source: Caleb Holder

In the City of Lubbock, it's common to see a fire hydrant on the block. However, out in Lubbock County, there aren't any.

Lubbock County Commissioner Bill McCay said while the City of Lubbock is required by law to install fire hydrants, it's different for the county.

"When homes are built, then there are fire hydrants or water lines through the city water supply," he said. "But out in the county, it's mostly rural. There are some subdivisions, but there's no water to get there. We don't have a county water department."

The county does provide funding for equipment to help their volunteer fire departments protect residents.

"That is part of state law," McCay said, "that we are required to provide them with equipment to fight fires."

Tim Smith, the fire chief for the West Carlisle Fire Department, said that necessary equipment includes their tankers.

"Three carry 1,500 gallons of water a piece, and one carries 1,100 gallons," he said. "We have portable tanks that we drop on the ground, and we dump that 1,500 gallons in that tank, and then the truck goes back and gets another load."

The West Carlisle volunteer firefighters designed everything but the cabs of their three tankers.

Once they are on scene, other volunteer fire departments can meet them with their tankers and use their water as well.

"We maintain a water supply in the county," he said.

If more water is needed, Smith said they have several options where they can draw from.

"Whether it be a fire hydrant in the city or a water supply at our station," Smith said.

While this does take time, Smith said it is the best they can offer.

"We maximize that water," Smith said. "If it takes us a long time to get to the call and then a long time to get back and get water…of course it's going to be challenging."

McCay knows that the volunteer fire departments are brainstorming other water options.

"Contracting with a farmer to use an irrigation well," he said.

Until then, Smith hopes with these factors in in mind, county residents will not hesitate to call 911 at the first signs of a fire.

"From the first minute, we're a little delayed because of our time and distance," Smith said. "Call 911…don't try to fight it yourself."

As this red flag warning continues tomorrow, Smith said Lubbock County residents should not take any fire chances.

He said they need to make sure that all tall grasses are cut and other fire hazards, like firewood, are moved away from their homes.

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