Weak fire hydrant hinders firefighters in Norwoodville


POLK COUNTY, Iowa -- The Delaware Township Fire Department says a fire hydrant at 4765 NE 32nd Street did not help them battle a Norwoodville house fire on Monday.

According to WHO Channel 13, the fire department hooked up to the hydrant and realized it didn’t pump out enough water, so crews had to turn to a nearby hydrant which the chief says slowed down operations.

The house is a total loss.

“Later found that that hydrant wasn't supplying an adequate amount of water," Delaware Township Fire Chief Evan Kellis said.

Had the hydrant pumped out more water, Chief Kellis could not speculate on if the house would have been saved.

The hydrant is marked with red, which indicates it could pump out less than the ideal 500 gallons of water per minute.

“Unfortunately, we were on the low-end of that scale for this incident, it hindered efforts," Chief Evan Kellis said.

The hydrant only pumped out 85 gallons of water per minute.

That's a pressure, Chief Kellis says, that is not good enough to fight this size fire.

“An absolute no good for anything type of hydrant that doesn't work for anything," Chief Evan Kellis said.

Water Works says the main which supplies this hydrant wasn't made for that much water.

“The thing about the unincorporated area between Des Moines and Ankeny, it was developed over time as benefited water districts, they were designed to provide drinking water and not fire protection," Ted Corrigan with Des Moines Water Works said.

As this area grows Water Works plans to expand the water mains.

“It’s exciting to see that kind of development and it's really exciting for the homeowners in our district," Chief Evan Kellis said.

Water Works sets aside more than $5 million a year to update undersized water mains. There's no word on how many miles of water main need to be updated, or when it'll happen.

Water works says the main on 32nd Street is on the list.

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