Fire Chiefs: Covered Hydrants “Becoming a Serious Problem”

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Photo Courtesy: Tom Asdell

ROOSEVELT PARK, Mich (February 9, 2014) – Snow, wind and extremely cold temperatures were added obstacles for firefighters forced to get a garage fire under control in Roosevelt Park on Saturday.

But the winter elements took a back seat to a bigger problem, covered fire hydrants.

“It’s becoming a serious problem,” said Norton Shore Fire Chief Bob Gagnon.

Chief Gagnon tells FOX 17 the first crews to arrive on scene to a two-story garage fire along Roosevelt Road between Summit and Broadway around 5:00 p.m. Saturday had trouble locating a water source.

Nearby hydrants were snow-covered and buried, delaying response to the fire by at least 5 to 10 minutes.

“These minutes are crucial,” said Gagnon.

Once firefighters were able to secure a water source, crews worked to contain the fire to the detached garage.

Chief Gagnon says the homeowner had been inside the garage working on a vehicle when they went back inside, then came back out to find the garage filled with smoke.

The homeowner attempted to back the vehicle out, but couldn’t because of the smoke.

The two-story garage ended up collapsing, burying the vehicle below.  A wrecker was called in to remove the vehicle so firefighters could make sure the fire was out.

The flames also blew out windows and damaged siding of the nearby home, but the main structure was saved.  The homeowner, who wasn’t injured in the fire, is still able to stay at home.

Chief Gagnon says the garage was insured.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Norton Shores firefighters were assisted at the scene by the Muskegon Heights Fire Department.

Chief Gagnon, speaking on behalf of other Fire Chiefs in Muskegon County, are urging residents to clear fire hydrants that may be buried in snow to prevent similar delays during an emergency response.

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