JAMESTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) - When firefighters arrived at a Jamestown Township home that was engulfed in flames, they faced two problems: The fire was already blowing out the back of the house and water pressure in the nearby fire hydrants was low.
The Sunbrook Court home caught fire around 9 p.m. Wednesday. The people inside -- two adults and some children -- got out safely, but the structure suffered serious damage.
--Home video courtesy Troy Tissue via ReportIt--
Crews had to call the City of Wyoming, which supplies water to many Ottawa County communities, to increase pressure on the line -- but that took valuable time.
"With the lower water volume they had, it just wasn't safe to put personnel in there," said Georgetown Township Fire Chief Dan Hamming, whose department was called to help with the fire.
Ground moles and dry grass helped start the blaze.
Jamestown Fire Chief Tom Salidino said the home's owner had lit a mole bomb -- a device that smokes out ground moles.
Sparks from the bomb set the grass on fire. The fire then spread to a storage shed, and then to the wooden deck of the home. It wasn't long before the entire back portion of the house was burning.
The recent heat was has put a strain on local water systems, which the Georgetown Township fire chief said may have caused the low water pressure in the hydrants.
The hotter it gets, the more water West Michigan residents use. Even lawn sprinklers are working overtime.
Chief Hamming said his community's water usage on an average summer day is about 4 million gallons. Lately, it's been 16 to 17 million.
"With conditions as dry as they are, each municipality is going to run into the same water issues, I guess is the best way to put it," he said.
Jamestown Township's fire chief is looking into whether there was a problem with the hydrants that caused the low pressure.
Additionally, the house that burned was on a cul-de-sac, where the design of water system may have added to the problem.
Many subdivision have dead-end water lines. The water flows off the main and branches off into each home. But that main line is capped at the end, limiting water supply.
A looped water line could have helped ease the pressure issue. Looped water lines tie into another water line at the end, providing a more even water supply.
The heat is the other issue for firefighters. It really takes a toll on their bodies. Most departments are adding extra crews to working fires until the heat lets up.
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