Family displaced by fire upset at lack of fire hydrants

Family displaced by fire upset at lack of fire hydrants
Source: Drew Hansen
Source: Drew Hansen

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The family that lost their home to the fire on Kings Road on Wednesday say they are upset that there was no fire hydrant on their street when it counted the most.

"It's a challenge we often encounter in some of the older neighborhoods," said Assistant Fire Chief Justin Gibbons with Horry County Fire Rescue.

Gibbons says the nearest fire hydrant was across Highway 544 when they responded to the fire Thursday, and that measures had to be taken to close the highway, which took extra time.

"So that was a concern. We not only had to have extra units to block the road to prevent cars from driving over our supply hose, but also obviously it was a big disturbance for commute this afternoon on Highway 544."

Several neighbors in the community say they would like to know why there are no fire hydrants located on their street. 
One woman on a neighboring street says she has never seen a hydrant on her street either, and would like to see that change.

"I think that Horry County should look into it and have one on every street." said Judy Ballard.

According to the Grand Strand Water and Sewer Authority, the water systems for Kings Road were likely installed in the 70s and 80s and are not able to handle water systems for fire protection. Chief Gibbons says it took extra resources to shut down the highway in order to put out the fire, which in this case was not preventable.

"Unfortunately in this particular case it is a little challenging and older neighborhoods like this one - there's not exactly a fire hydrant on every corner. Like with typically new fire codes require hydrants in the neighborhoods."

Horry County says it follows International Building and Fire Codes, however, while some requirements may be stricter today for newer developments, older buildings and developments are grandfathered in and not required to meet newer standards.

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