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Firefighters contend with lack of hydrants on the Hillside

By Lauren Maxwell 7:27 PM January 20, 2014

Birch Road fire proved tricky

ANCHORAGE - Firefighters faced some challenges fighting a destructive house fire Sunday night.

The home is located on Birch Road, just off O’Malley Road. One of the biggest obstacles faced by firefighters is that no one saw the fire until it was totally involved. No one was inside the home, but by the time firefighters got there flames were shooting out of the roof.

Another challenge firefighters faced is a more familiar one, no fire hydrants. That’s no surprise. Most of the homes on the Hillside aren’t on municipal water and don’t have hydrants. Firefighters had to call in every tender truck in town to fight the flames.

“Almost all the homes up on the Hillside are pretty big homes and pretty expensive,” said AFD Cpt. Robert St. Clair. “Whenever we have a fire up there it usually grows by the time we get there and we need all the water we can get right away.”

The tenders hold up to 2,500 gallons of water and can shuttle it back and forth to the fire scene. The municipality has four of them in town and a fifth in Eagle River.

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