San Antonio fire crews encounter challenges while fighting massive fires

Fire at the Walker Ranch Apartments on January 1, 2019. (Photo: KABB/WOAI)

The San Antonio Fire Department says firefighters ran into a big problem when they tried to put out a massive fire at an old warehouse on Monday night.

Large flames and chemicals caused several small explosions, making it difficult to fight the fire at an old warehouse located along Pinn Road near Highway 151.

Fire crews spent time and resources trying to connect to a fire hydrant that was too far away, down a long, private road.

“Water that is coming out of a hydrant, will go into an engine, boost that pressure to keep it going on, we can do that for as long as we need to go down the road,” said Joe Arrington, public information officer with the San Antonio Fire Dept.

Weeks before the warehouse fire, SAFD firefighters encountered another challenge at the Walker Ranch Apartments.

They encountered low water pressure while connecting to the water lines running through the complex.

San Antonio Water System says the water lines in the complex are on a "loop system" that is a branch off the main SAWS line, which might not be as powerful or as well-maintained.

“We try to avoid using those because they are not controlled by SAWS, they are not inspected thoroughly like we do our SAWS hydrants,” Arrington said.

According to SAWS, it controls more than 41,000 thousand fire hydrants in our area.

The utility can boost the pressure anytime the fire department needs them too.

According to the Insurance Services Office or ISO, the fire hydrants and other fire equipment in our city rated are Class 1.

Meaning the hydrants on your street corner are rated in the top one percent of the fire hydrants in the nation.

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