2 Fire Hydrants Fail During Fire, 1 Failed Previous Inspection

Target 13 Investigates Is Finding Out Why It Wasn't Fixed

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - 2 fire hydrants in a water district just south of Colorado Springs failed to work during a fire today. One failed an inspection, but was never fixed.

Stratmoor Hills Water District records show the hydrants were inspected and tested in October 2011. One worked then, but was frozen during the fire. They're still investigating why it was frozen.

The other hydrant failed the inspection, but was never fixed.

"It is very concerning," Gordon Halverson, Supt. of the water district told KRDO Newschannel 13.

He says employees planned to fix it, but forgot about it. "This was late in the afternoon when they tested it, so they were going to repair it the next day, but they had a water main break that night and it just got overlooked."

He says from now on he, or the District Foreman, will review all inspections within 24 hours and make sure the repairs are made.

He also wants customers to know their infrastructure is due for repairs. He says the hydrants that failed to work today were installed int eh 1960's and the company that made one of them is now out of business, so finding parts for repairs is difficult to impossible.

The fire started around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 1200 block of Denise Drive. According to Stratmoor Hills Fire Department, everyone was able to evacuate the burning home safely.

According to Preston Taylor, the homeowner, his wife and 3-year-old son were inside the home when the fire started but were able to evacuate.

"They got out really quick, got to neighbors. Luckily, none of them were hurt. I don't know what I'd do if one of them got hurt," said Taylor.

The family dog also made it out safely, but a pet turtle was lost in the fire, said Taylor.

Taylor said the fireplace was on and believes an ember popped out catching the carpet on fire.

"Trailers go up like matchbooks. There's not much you can do," he said.

The fire department has ruled the fire accidental, but is still investigating the cause of the fire.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said neighboring homes were evacuated as crews work to contain the fire. One home next door suffered heat damage on the side paneling.

The home is a total loss and the family does not have home owner's insurance. Taylor said the family did have insurance but that it just lapsed.

"It was all we could do before to keep food in our kids' belly's and a roof over their head. We ain't doing such a good job now," said Taylor.

The Red Cross is helping the displaced family with their current needs.

The Stratmoor Fire Department is also trying to figure out why two fire hydrants were not functioning properly in the area. The delay in getting water hampered the crews firefighting efforts.

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