New water main, ‘functional' hydrants slated near house destroyed by fire in South Bexar County

Firefighters had water shortage due to far-off hydrant

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas – The San Antonio Water System is planning to replace a water main in the same South Bexar County neighborhood where firefighters struggled to get water from a distant hydrant to the flames.

The family home on Whispering Woods, near U.S. 281 outside of Loop 1604, went up in flames Tuesday afternoon.

After Bexar County Emergency Services District 2 firefighters had emptied their pumper trucks, there was about a 10-minute interruption in water as they laid hose to a hydrant three-tenths of a mile away, said ESD 2 Fire Chief Ralph Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said his firefighters have run into similar problems before, but not frequently.

"It happens about once or twice every year or every other year," he said.

In this case, the chief said crews would not have been able to save the house anyway. He also said it is hard to know if there were other occasions when a closer hydrant would have made a difference. However, he believes more hydrants would certainly help

"We don't need any more challenges than we're already presented with," Rodriguez said.

SAWS spokeswoman Anne Hayden said some water lines in the the county can't accommodate hydrants.

New construction could mean hydrants, though. But while the utility will upgrade existing infrastructure if it is already doing a project, upgrading it everywhere would be restrictively expensive, Hayden said.

SAWS was already planning on installing a new, larger main line in the same neighborhood where the fire happened, Hayden said, and it will include "functional" hydrants.

The project is scheduled to begin sometime this year.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.