Firefighters encounter outdated hydrant fitting at house fire

August 5, 2011

By Tim Pfarr

Firefighters responding to a house fire in the 8800 block of 116th Avenue Southeast the night of June 26 encountered unexpected fittings on a nearby fire hydrant, which delayed firefighters for 15 seconds, said Lt. Troy Donlin, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

The hydrant, which contained two 2 1/2 inch ports, is known as a village hydrant, he said. Firefighters can access such a hydrant through the ports, but it takes slightly longer.

“We’re trained to deal with that situation,” Donlin said.

He said village hydrants are located at various places throughout the city. Donlin said the village hydrants are old and no longer made, but the department still trains firefighters on accessing the hydrants.

Bellevue fire officials contacted the Coal Creek Utility District about the hydrants following the fire, according to Coal Creek Operations Manager Robert Russell.

Russell said hydrant nozzles are a different size than those on the majority of hydrants in the immediate area. But he also said there are not many of the so-called village hydrants and that area firefighters have equipment to deal with the odd-sized nozzles. There actually are several types of hydrant nozzles in the area, Russell added.

“It’s common for firefighters to have to adapt,” he said.

Bellevue’s Donlin described the 15-second delay as insignificant.

The blaze almost completely torched one house and badly burned another, causing a quarter-million dollars in damage. The Bellevue Fire Department ruled the cause of the fire as “undetermined,” as damage to the point of origin was too extensive to indicate how the fire began.

The fire began in a resident’s garage, where the resident had left a pile of oily rags that may have contributed to the fire, said Lt. Eric Keenan, Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

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