Bullock County Residents Complain About Lack of Fire Hydrants

After a deadly fire in the Ponderosa subdivision of Bullock county, homeowners are asking why they don't have fire hydrants. And they're finding out that it may take longer than they thought.

The neighborhood is just west of Union Springs. The closest fire hydrant is a half-mile away. That means fire fighters are forced to spend crucial time driving back and forth, which homeowners say is unacceptable.

It was just last month, a man died when his Ponderosa home went up in flames. 54-year-old Tom Allen was a retired road construction employee.

Allen's family says a closer fire hydrant may not have made a difference. But other homeowners in the area say they hydrants are needed to protect their property.

"Once you call and say there's a fire, you want the fire truck there," said Charlena Hooks. "But when they get there, they stand and watch your house burn to the ground."

Hooks was one of about 25 residents that came together to hear from experts on the topic Tuesday -- experts like Randolph Hall of the South Bullock County Water Authority. He says the neighborhood's existing water lines are too small.

"Because the number of people, you start having pressure problems, your volume of water coming through the little lines is too small because there's so many houses," Hall said.

Hall told the crowd the water authority is working towards replacing the lines. Only then will they be large enough to support fire hydrants. But the authority is still looking for the money needed and the project could take three to four years.

"That's too long," said Hooks. "We need them now and we've been needing them."

Even when the old water lines are replaced, there's no guarantee the water authority will add as many hydrants as the residents want. That means homeowners may end up paying for some of the hydrants themselves. They cost around $300 each.

In the meantime, the homeowners say they're contacting their state and federal lawmakers in hopes of speeding the process along.

Reporter: Mark Bullock