OKLAHOMA CITY – A mother and son are without a home after flames engulfed it Tuesday afternoon. Joshua Fuller ran frantically to his home just after 2:00 pm, but it was too late. He and his mother could only watch as fire fighters battle the flames. Their home, their pets are gone.
Mark Fuller saw the flames as he worked next door and called 911.
“The flames were first coming out by the barbecue pit that I saw, and then I heard whoosh. Like a flame thrower, and evidently that was the propane bottles,” said Fuller.
He knew fire fighters would have to act fast because in this Blue Quail Rd. neighborhood, there are no fire hydrants.
“You got to do what you got to do with what you have,” said Fuller.
So fire fighters used what they had: a hydrant two miles away. Three tanker trucks drove back and forth filling up and dumping water into holding tanks.
“Out here where there are no hydrants, turn around time is about 15 to 20 minutes for a tanker to dump his water, leave and come back,” said Maj. Jim Williams with the Oklahoma City Fire Department.
Firefighters have that plan in place, but the city says so far, it doesn’t have plans to add hydrants in that area even though neighborhoods are springing up.
“It would be nice if every corner had a water hydrant,” said Fuller.
Some residents say they’ve asked for hydrants for years, but were told it would cost them hundreds of dollars. So they can only hope firefighters can get enough water to them when they need it.
“We’re very, very lucky to have the emergency response people that we do,” said Fuller.
No one knows if fire hydrants would have saved the French’s home, but neighbors don’t want to take any chances in the future. They want hydrants now.
The fire department is supporting a proposal that would require all new homes to have a sprinkler system inside. The department says that would cut down on fatalities and fire damage significantly, especially in rural areas.