Nashville officials say most Brown County fire hydrants aren’t powerful enough to supply water, but volunteer firefighters in the area are working through it.
Nashville has about 150 fire hydrants and a water system that fire crews can pull from in an emergency. But Nashville Superintendent Roger Bush says many of the water pipes in the fire hydrants are smaller than other communities, making it hard to pump out the needed water.
“In the City of Bloomington, they have 8 inch water mains so they’re adequately sized for fire hydrants,” Bush says. “Here we only have 6 inch water mains. We have a handful of 8 inch water mains, but those fire hydrants that are on the minimal size pipe don’t have the same flow as a fire hydrant on an eight inch main.”
Fire Chief Dak Kelp says the Brown County fire department serves about 4,500 people. Kelp says if they can’t pull water from a fire hydrant, they can get water from other sources such as a pond or a water tanker.
“That becomes our static source and then you’re relying on a tanker shuttle which is usually 2, 3, 4 depending on the size of the fire running, filling up somewhere, coming back full, dumping their water, running back to the static source or hydrant somewhere and filling up and its nonstop.”
Fire fighters in Brown County have responded to 23 fires this year. Just in the past two weeks, crews successfully put out two field fires that started because of the unusually dry conditions.