Another followup today on the water-pressure/access problems that hampered firefighters in the early going on August 27th, when flames gutted an Arbor Heights home, sending black smoke so high into the sky that it could be seen for miles around. We have reported that Seattle Public Utilities, which is accountable for hydrants and water service, plans an “after-action review” with the Seattle Fire Department. And today, we just got word that SPU plans to take two steps for starters:
First, SPU spokesperson Susan Stoltzfus tells WSB, eleven hydrants in the area will be replaced with larger hydrants – she says those hydrants are attached to some of the area’s larger water mains, and could be upgraded to provide better water pressure. (Those 11 do not include the two hydrants that firefighters first tried to use on August 27, she says, because they are connected to smaller mains and just enlarging the hydrants wouldn’t do any good.) Second, she says SPU and SFD will decide on a way to make it obvious to firefighters which are the lower-pressure hydrants and which are the higher-pressure hydrants. These are not the only steps they’re going to take – that review is still ahead – but she says this is something they can do relatively quickly (within three months) to help.
(The family who rented the home, you may recall, was out of town when the fire happened; as we reported last week, they are continuing to get back on their feet.)