2 faulty hydrants ‘really troubling’ to Madison Twp. fire department while battling residential fire

An early Sunday morning fire caused about $300,000 in damages to the structure and contents of this home at 5086 Mosiman Road in Madison Twp. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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An early Sunday morning fire caused about $300,000 in damages to the structure and contents of this home at 5086 Mosiman Road in Madison Twp. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Issues could have led to delays in getting water on blaze and injured firefighters, chief says.

An early morning Sunday fire destroyed a Madison Twp. home and showed the potential dangers of malfunctioning fire hydrants, according to Chief Kent Hall.

When firefighters were dispatched at 12:35 a.m. to a structure fire at 5086 Mosiman Road, their efforts were hampered when two nearby hydrants became unusable at times, Hall said.

There are two caps on fire hydrants, a 2.5-inch typically used by the water department and a 4-inch used by firefighters, Hall said. When firefighters hooked up a line to the 4-inch cap, the 2.5-inch cap blew off, making the hydrant useless, he said.

He said someone who works for Southwest Regional Water District, the organization that maintains all the hydrants in the township, may have improperly secured the cap.

Firefighters then located another hydrant four minutes later and after hooking their lines, the “whole guts” of the hydrant blew off, Hall said.

He called these two faulty hydrants “really troubling” and they could have led to delays in getting water on the fire and injuring firefighters. He said this situation has occurred before in the township.

Phil Sackenheim, deputy general manager of the water district, said he had “no explanation” for what may have happened to the fire hydrants.

He said crews, as requested by the fire department, repaired three hydrants Monday morning.

Eventually, Hall said, firefighters reconnected the 2.5-inch cap and used that hydrant. Automatic mutual aid was called from Trenton and Wayne and Franklin townships, and after Deputy Chief Dave Runnells arrived on the scene, he called for aid from Middletown and St. Clair Twp. fire departments, Hall said.

The township’s 2,000-gallon pumper tank was used as a water supply, he said.

Not having effective fire hydrants “adds one more level” of concern for firefighters, Hall said.

The homeowners were out of town and guests were watching the house, the chief said. All the occupants escaped injury and two Madison Twp. firefighters were treated at the scene due to the extreme heat, Hall said.

The fire caused about $300,000 in damages to the structure and contents, he said.

“We could have had a better outcome,” said Hall, chief since 1998. “Unfortunately we had a couple of issues.”

The initial investigation said the fire started on the back deck, then climbed the two-story home. He said the back of the house collapsed. The cause of the fire is listed as undetermined as the investigation continues, Hall said.

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Madison Twp. firefighters covered this fire hydrant on Mosiman Road to indicate it's out of service and needs repaired. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Madison Twp. firefighters covered this fire hydrant on Mosiman Road to indicate it's out of service and needs repaired. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Madison Twp. firefighters covered this fire hydrant on Mosiman Road to indicate it's out of service and needs repaired. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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