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Detroit-area community questions reliability of fire hydrants

Gosse Pointe Park residents voice safety concerns over city's fire hydrants after home burns down
Gosse Pointe Park residents voice safety concerns over city's fire hydrants after home burns down 02:11

GROSSE POINTE PARK, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Some residents in Grosse Pointe Park are concerned that some fire hydrants may not be working properly. The concern comes after a house fire on Saturday in the 1400 block of Lakepointe Street.

"I am concerned how this was handled," said Beth Cassidy. 

Cassidy's garage was consumed by flames from a fire that spread from her neighbor's home. She believes the fire should've been contained, but instead, it spread and damaged the siding on several homes nearby and two vehicles, including her Chevy Impala, which was parked in her garage that burned to the ground. 

"I've seen this happen before, besides us, and honestly, the fact they couldn't attach the hoses to three hydrants, the one on Charlevoix and the one out in front of the neighbor's house, the fact they couldn't attach hoses to the fire trucks, I don't feel secure, it's very discouraging," Cassidy said.  

Cassidy lost many valuables in the fire. She said she used her garage to store antique collectibles and personal keepsakes. She had planned on giving the Impala to her son. 

Cassidy and many other neighbors are now questioning why the fire hydrant in front of the burned home was not suitable for putting out the fire. She said it took nearly 20 minutes before firefighters put water to the flames. 

"I am concerned about that," Cassidy said. 

Jessica Dawl took to social media and wrote a letter to Grosse Pointe Park City officials to voice her concern about the time it took to put the fire out. 

Grosse Pointe City Manager Nick Sizeland released the statement:

The City of Grosse Pointe Park is aware of a social media post with misinformation regarding the Lakepointe fire from Saturday, June 15th on the 1400 block of Lakepointe that requires correction.

Fiction: 1400 Block on Lakepointe does not have working fire hydrants.

Fact: 1400 Block on Lakepointe does have working fire hydrants. Due to the nature of the fire our firefighters had to pull from multiple fire hydrants which is not uncommon. (As an example once the second hydrant on the street was tapped, the hydrants began competing with one another from the same water supply. To counteract this, additional hydrants on adjacent streets need to be accessed).

Once that supply was established, firefighters from the Park, City, Farms and Detroit were able to suppress the fire.

We are continuously striving to review and improve our residents quality of life. Due to aging infrastructure like most urban center communities, the City has prioritized through its capital improvement plan to replace a section of water main each year. Last year included a water main replacement section on Mack Ave and through St Clare of Montefalco. This year a section of Beaconsfield will be replaced. In the next 6 years the City anticipates an investment of $7,800,000 in water main improvements thanks to the Infrastructure Millage passed by Grosse Pointe Park residents.

The origin of the fire is under investigation and the City Administration has met with the homeowners and will provide any assistance we can to help them as they recover from this tragic loss.

The public's safety is our top priority. We are thankful that no one was injured and for the quick response and assistance of our mutual aid partners and the Detroit Fire Department.

Cassidy and other neighbors said the city's fire response needs to improve so that residents can feel confident and safe in its fire services. 

"It just seems like if they were two separate entities, if there was a separate fire department and they were trained like they are in Detroit, maybe this wouldn't have happened," she said, referring to the city's decision to combine personnel in their police and fire services. 

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