Fire hydrant poses a problem for Henrico fire crews

Posted at 11:30 PM, May 03, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-03 23:30:05-04

HENRICO, Va (WTVR) -- Watching the fire eat away at a Henrico home weren't just the people who lived there, but, seemingly the entire neighborhood. One woman watching very closely lived right next door. “We smelled it and it smelled awful. We could smell it like it was actually in this home,” says Shenae Jackson.

Jackson tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall, she didn’t realize something was wrong until her daughter started screaming. “When I saw it coming by my window, that's when I was concerned,” says Jackson’s daughter.

Considering the intensity of this fire, Jackson is surprised it never reached her home. Crews say it was upgraded to a 2-alarm fire before they even arrived. “When they saw the amount of smoke that they had, they knew they were going to need some extra help,” says Henrico Fire Spokesperson, James Mellon.  He tells CBS 6, it took crews more than an hour to get this fire under control.

One of their problems was finding water. Mellon says they could never get the largest cap off this fire-hydrant. “It’s not very common,” says Mellon.

We contacted Henrico’s Department of Public Utilities about the frequency of hydrant inspections and the danger this poses in other neighborhoods. It was late in the day on Friday, but the department's manager promised an answer on Monday, saying the paperwork was at the office.  Mellon says he'll follow-up as well.

In the meantime, crews will spend the night investigating, trying to figure out how this fire started.

The Red Cross is assisting those who lived inside.