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New Baltimore, Other Crews Battle Low Water Pressure at Fire Scene

Fire crews from all over the area utilized water tankers from Ira Township Fire Department and accessed Chesterfield Township hydrants.

In addition to extreme heat, fire crews dealt with low water pressure at the scene of a Thursday afternoon house fire in New Baltimore.

"We ended up having real low water pressure," New Baltimore Deputy Fire Chief Brian Bilinski said Friday of the response on Danielle Street near 25 Mile. "You can't put out a fire without water. You have to have a backup plan."

That meant fire crews from all over the area utilized water tankers from Ira Township Fire Department and accessed Chesterfield Township hydrants.

Bilinski said the total firefighting delay was about five to six minutes. Despite concerns from residents that the house could have been saved had there not been water pressure woes, Bilinski says that wouldn't have been the case.

Regardless, he said, "That house was going to have to be replaced."

He pointed out the fire was completely involved in the attic by the time emergency responders were notified and that the flames had vented through the roof.

Residents in the Hidden Ridge subdivision say low water pressure is not uncommon. Home owner Greg Sierzan says he often turns on the shower to just a small drizzle of water.

The city water department says that generally water is in high demand during the summer months when the weather is extremely hot and the subdivision is located north of the water tower, where there's traditionally lower pressure. Further details about the pressure pertaining to the fire were not immediately available.

Michelle McNabb and her fiance, Sierzan, said the pressure is a major problem--one they wouldn't expect to deal with because their quarterly inside water bills are about $400.  But they commended firefighters for their hard work in the hot conditions, where they were in danger of fatigue and dehydration.

None of the firefighters were hurt while responding to the blaze, fire officials said.

Read about lightning striking multiple homes in the Hidden Ridge sub here.

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mjamieson July 10, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Any news on plans to resolve this issue? Engineers perhaps? It sounds as though this will continue to be an issue that will put others in northern New Baltimore and their homes at risk.

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