Neighbors push for more hydrants after massive Mint Hill house fire

- FOX 46 Charlotte is working to get results for a neighborhood in Mint Hill. Neighbors said they need more fire hydrants after firefighters ran out of water while fighting a house fire.

The fire chief said the fire that destroyed a family’s house in Mint Hill could have ended differently had there been a fire hydrant closer to the home.

Related: Massive fire destroys home in Mint Hill

FOX 46 Charlotte went to the agency responsible for putting in the hydrants to find out why they weren’t put in earlier and how soon they’ll put them in now.

A family’s home, life and memories went up in flames Friday night leaving them with nothing more than the clothes on their backs and the precious little they took on vacation.

“You’re coming back from vacation and everything is gone. Just horrible,” James Adams said, a neighbor.

Adams lives just a block away from where the fire consumed his neighbor’s house in Ashe Plantation.

“Literally that night we were sending emails to the president of our HOA. Let’s do something,” Adams said.

He said his Homeowner’s Association has been pushing for more fire hydrants since Charlotte Water took over last year.

Right now, the only fire hydrant in Ashe Plantation is a mile away from the house that caught on fire.

“If it wasn’t for that one fire hydrant up front, they would have had to have gone at least two more miles away,” Adams said.

A Charlotte Water spokesperson said they plan to upgrade the neighborhood’s pipe systems this year, which includes looking into more hydrants.

Right now, Charlotte Water said it’s in the design and permitting stage of the project. Which means until the project is complete, the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Department will have to find other ways to get water.

“We pulled up with 3,500 gallons. Guys went in, started a good fight on the fire but the water ran out before we got in our next due company to come in with more water. We had to pull out and wait. The fire caught back up and we got behind,” Fire Chief David Leath said.  

Fire Chief Leath said Mint Hill works closely with surrounding departments to bring in extra tankers when needed. He said there were nine departments Friday night, but without fire hydrants there could be a delay with devastating consequences.

“You knew you didn’t have them but until something like this happens it makes you realize how badly you do need them,” Adams said.

The fire chief said local departments train four times a year to prepare for big structure fires and send out for help for nearby tankers when they know they’re going to an area without hydrants.   

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