Orono residents concerned over lack of fire hydrants

Neighbors in Orono are raising concerns about a lack of hydrants in a neighborhood where a fire destroyed a home. 

The house on the 700 block of Lakeview Parkway was fully engulfed once firefighters arrived Friday night. The family who owns the home told Fox 9 they had left their home about a half hour before the fire, but their dog did not make it out. They hope their story will help bring awareness to the issue.

The lack of hydrants in the area is a fairly common occurrence in the region served by the Long Lake Fire Department.

“We’re given the situation of whether it has or has not, and we respond accordingly with the type of vehicles that we have and the type of resources that we need to respond,” said James Van Eyll, the department’s chief.

On Friday, the department brought its tanker trucks and worked with partner agencies to bring water to the scene.

“Once we’re out of water there, we basically have to go to the nearest, closet water supply, could be a fire hydrant, we could be taking out of a lake, we could be doing anything like that,” Van Eyll said. “And then we return and we try to keep the water flowing as fast as we can, as best we can.”

The chief says it’s important for homeowners to be aware of what sort of water supply firefighters will have to use in case of an emergency.

“Typically if you buy a home and you have to have a well and a septic, you don’t usually have fire hydrants in that area,” he said.

In these areas, he said it’s all the more critical that people take time to make their homes fire safe, by purchasing extinguishers and establishing escape routes.