Carrboro gets plea for hydrants

Carrboro gets plea for hydrants

Staff WriterAugust 20, 2005 

After annexation next year, some residents now living northeast of Carrboro will find themselves the town's residents for the first time.

And with that in mind, some of them are already asking for improvements in their future town's ability to protect them from fires.

One resident, John Kramer, is concerned that the Fox Meadows area has no fire hydrants and has asked the aldermen to install some.

"I cannot see how they will be provided with equivalent fire protection," Kramer said.

The Carrboro aldermen voted this year to annex 321 acres, including the Camden, Highlands, Highlands North, Highland Meadows, Fox Meadows and Meadow Run subdivisions. The annexation takes effect Jan. 31.

Those areas are currently served by the New Hope Volunteer Fire Department, which will continue to assist the Carrboro Fire Department if needed.

Kramer, a former volunteer with the New Hope department, said that in areas without fire hydrants, a large "drop tank," similar to a portable swimming pool, is set up near the fire, and tanker trucks shuttle water from a pond or hydrant closest to the fire.

"As you can imagine, this is a daunting task, especially on a narrow, winding road like the ones in Fox Meadows," he told the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday night.

Carrboro Fire Chief Rodney Murray said he does not think the drop-tank method makes fighting fires more difficult.

"One is as taxing as the other," he said.

With or without hydrants, he said, firefighters have to struggle with hoses.

Still, 96 percent of Carrboro has fire hydrants, spaced 1,000 feet apart, Murray said.

In an interview, Kramer, who lives in Highlands North, said he still thinks it's easier to fight fires when there are hydrants, which is why the town has put them across such a large area.

He also said insurance costs more in areas without fire hydrants.

In its annexation report, the town noted that six fire hydrants might be needed to meet the spacing standard when water lines are extended to part of the annexation area.

Each hydrant costs $3,500 to install.

"I hope Carrboro will do the right thing," Kramer said.

Carrboro Planning Director Roy Williford said the town's staff is working on a response to Kramer's concerns.

Staff writer Lovemore Masakadza can be reached at 812-0441 or lmasakad@newsobserver.com.

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