Team 10 questions agencies over fire hydrant

Homeowner said hydrant didn't work in Cocos Fire

San Marcos - Team 10 is asking questions after a fire victim claimed the nearest hydrant did not work. The man's home burned down in the Cocos Fire and he partly blames his water district.

Team 10 Troubleshooter Cristin Severance went straight to the water district and fire department in charge of that area to get answers.

Dave Roberts said firefighters told him the nearest fire hydrant to his home on Bresa De Loma Drive was not working when the fires hit Harmony Grove.

"He said we can't get the fire hydrants open. They are no good," said Roberts.

He said he let firefighters fill up from his pool but still lost his home.

Team 10 called the Vallecitos Water District and requested service records.

General manager Dave Lamb said he sent crews out to test the hydrant and it was fully operational now and at the time of the fire.

"We sent out a crew that was free and they did operate the valve normally," he said.

Service records show it was working in January of 2014.

Lamb told Team 10 that the fire hydrant is in the Vallecitos Water District but they do not maintain anything above the ground. He said they make sure the lines leading up to the hydrant are operational.

Lamb said it is up to the fire departments to make sure the hydrants above ground are working.

There are 3,000 fire hydrants in the 45-mile area water district and that is their agreement with Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos and Vista.

The area where the fire hydrant is located falls under the Elfin Forest Harmony Grove Fire Department.

Lamb did not know if the department maintained the hydrant or if they knew they were supposed to.

"I really don't know but that's our next step," said Lamb.

Team 10 called the Elfin Forest Harmony Grove Fire Department.

The fire chief said the department cannot use these fire hydrants because they are too high pressure and the firefighters do not have the equipment to open them. He said Vallecitos knew of this issue.

Lamb said he was not aware of any contact from the fire department in the past regarding the fact that they cannot utilize the system.

He said that does not diminish the fact that the system was and is fully operational and available for fire protection to the area.

He will follow up with the department on the maintenance issue.

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