City’s plans for fire loop progressing

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2011

In 2007, a house fire ignited in the Brignall area. TheBrookhaven Fire Department promptly arrived on the scene andknocked the fire down with water they had on the trucks after twohours of fighting the flames.

The fire flared back up and BFD was left with dry hoses and neededassistance to finish the job because the area lacks fire hydrants.However, by the time firefighters were able to put the fire out forgood, it had gutted the house.

“We didn’t have adequate water supply and that’s pretty much thereason it burned down,” said BFD Chief Tony Weeks. “It would havehelped a lot to have hydrants there.”

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After Brignall residents pleaded their cases of the importance ofbetter fire protection in April of 2009, city officials have sincetaken a small step to ensuring the Brignall fire loop becomes areality.

The city has recently received its environmental inspectionclearance, which is necessary before any construction can start.Engineers and officials are currently nailing down the specifics,such as where to install the hydrants and how many hydrants will beinstalled in the recently annexed area.

Mayor Les Bumgarner said the next steps in providing the area withfire hydrants are finishing the plans, advertising for bids,issuing a bid and then constructing the fire loop. Bumgarner saidgroundbreaking could start in about three months and he hopes tohave the project finished by the fall.

“Everything is in line,” said Bumgarner. “All we have to do is putthe pieces together.”

The loop is located in a dedicated area for the Lincoln CountyRural Water Association, in the northern part of Brookhaven. Whilethe city is unable to sell water in that area, the water lines willbe installed to provide better fire protection for roughly 300residents in the neighborhood.

“Brignall is a bigger-sized area than some people think,” said WardOne Alderman Dorsey Cameron.

The project is being funded by a $373,264 grant, which wasadministered in December. The city will also be matching the grantthrough general funds to support the Brignall development.

Brookhaven assumed responsibility of providing firefighters withthe means necessary for proper water supply once the area wasincorporated into the city more than three years ago. Cameron saidthe delay in having the project completed has been the paperworkinvolved in acquiring financial help.

“Without a grant it would be a lot more expensive for Brookhaven doto this,” said Cameron. “It’s not that we’ve been putting it off,it’s just a time-consuming thing.”

The city has provided the area with fire protection, but BFD islimited in the amount of water trucks can shed during emergencysituations. The city’s fire trucks are capable of unleashing 2,500gallons of water before needing more water.

While other fire departments can bring more water to the fight, thewait could lead to more damage.

“You can never have too much water,” said Weeks. “It’s always goodto have way more than you need.”