Lack of fire hydrants, steep hills challenge local firefighters - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Lack of fire hydrants, steep hills challenge local firefighters

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They call it organized chaos. When a fire starts, they're the ones to respond. But sometimes fighting the flames is not as easy as you may think.

 "Whenever we get a fire, it's already chaotic," said Patrick Clark, the public information officer for the Pinch Volunteer Fire Department.

And when there aren't enough hydrants it can make putting out fires, like the one in Clendenin early Friday morning, extremely difficult.

"There aren't hydrants in that subdivision. And we have to compensate by laying lines or shuttling water to the scene," said Fire Chief Kevin Clendenin.

At the Friday morning fire, firefighters had to do both. The closes fire hydrant was more than half a mile away.

"The national standard is that they put a fire hydrant on a main, 6 inches or larger every two thousand feet in a populated area. That doesn't account for driveways and back on the hills such as we have in our area," said Chief Clendenin.

In one Mink Shoals neighborhood the closest fire hydrant is miles away, across the street at an elementary school.

It's one of the reasons why the Pinch Volunteer Fire Department pre-plans for fires and maps out these areas.

"We know where exactly we need to drop our hose, where exactly we need to position our trucks, and how we are going to effectively extinguish the fire," said Clark.