Firefighters say private fire hydrants slowed response to major apartment fire

Firefighters say private fire hydrants slowed response to major apartment fire

Fire officials explained the two biggest reasons why firefighters had a hard time putting out an apartment fire on Oakhill Road near Ingram Road on Wednesday. The fire left more than a dozen people out of their homes.

“It was quite a nightmare to wake up to this,” said Charles Levey, who was displaced at by the fire.

Levey shared photos showing the flames and inside his destroyed apartment on Oakhill Road near Ingram Road. He and 17 others made it out safely. Battalion Chief Mark Black says there were difficulties putting out the fire. He says one issue was the location of the fire.

“The biggest issue they had I mean it's all the way in the back,” Black said.

Black says fire fighters were forced to use city hydrants located all the way outside of the complex.

That's because the privately owned hydrants inside weren’t working.

“As you can see the five-inch line has got to come from outside to get to the back,” Black said.

Below is a statement from Joe Arrington with the San Antonio Fire Department.:

“Common practice for us when responding to a fire in an area with private hydrants is to stage an engine on an outside (city) hydrant just in case it is needed... Like today."

Robert Brown, legal representative with the Vivid Apartments, released the following statement.:

"We are grateful for the courage and assistance of the first responders to the fire that occurred at our property this morning. We were thankful to hear that all of our residents have been accounted for, and we are working with them in their efforts to transition to other housing accommodations in the community. We are in the process of investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, and intend to continue to fully cooperate with the efforts and investigations of the San Antonio Fire Department."
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