Fire investigators say closest hydrant to Maplewood apartment complex wasn't working

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's a situation where every second counts.

Helmet camera footage worn by a Fresno fire captain shows the intense flames tearing through the Maplewood apartment complex carport before spreading to adjacent buildings.

RELATED: Several families, students displaced following large apartment fire near Fresno State

"To complicate things a hydrant that was instrumental getting this fire under control we had difficulties with that hydrant," said battalion chief Rich Cabral.

It's an obstacle that should have never been in their way.

"They had to get another engine company to lay about 400 feet from that engine company to a hydrant and make the connection," Cabral said.

Cabral says flames erupted just before 7:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Crews attempted to use a hydrant roughly 50 feet away from the blaze, but when they went to open the hydrant, it was not functioning.

"They never ran out of water on that engine company, and so they were able to operate off their tank water and gain access to another hydrant," he said. "In the meantime, a ladder truck was placed on the backside of the incident where the main body of fire was."

Hydrants are inspected annually, any service notes get sent to the city's water department.

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SKYVIEW 30: Aeiral view of the damages, costing $2.5 million, caused by flames after a large fire at the Maplewood Apartments.

According to Fresno Fire, that's one of 100 hydrants currently out of service for repair or replacement within city limits.

However, Chief Cabral says the hydrant wasn't flagged for repair as it was working fine when it was last inspected in December of 2018. He added they hold records of the more than 15,000 hydrants in Fresno, more than 12,000 are city-owned.

The city of Fresno told Action News the water department would send a crew out to the complex Tuesday to assess the hydrant to make repairs or replacements.
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