The issues facing the Sligo Water system are not only a matter of inconvenience, but residents worry: What about our safety in the event of a fire?
The system serves residents on both sides of Sligo Road in South Bossier, from just east of Highway 71 to about one mile past the Chesapeake Energy facility on Sligo Road.
Demand for water exceeds supply in late summer and a backup supply from the City of Bossier City is no longer available. There can be times, possibly hours, when no water is available.
Now residents are asking, what might happen in the event of a fire?
“We have started to receive phone calls from our residence expressing concerns on how we would handle a fire, if the water system they are on was not working. I will begin by explaining a little about your fire department,” South Bossier Fire District #2 Fire Chief Ryan Foster wrote in a Facebook post.
Fire Chief Foster said Fire District #2 covers approximately 168 square miles, from north of Sligo Road, and south to both the Red River and Bienville Parish lines. The west boundary of service is the Red River and the east boundary is Webster Parish.
“In our response district, we only have a little over 70 fire hydrants, all within 2 miles from Sligo Rd. I would say over 85 % of our response district, does not have fire hydrants,” the Chief added.
Fire District #2 regularly responds to fires without a fire hydrant nearby, he says.
“We operate three designated 3,000 gallon tankers, two 3,000 gallon pumper/tankers, two 1,000 gallon engines, and two 1,250 gallon engines all for structure protection. We carry 19,500 gallons of water on wheels, this doesn’t include our wildland firefighting apparatus,” the Chief explained.
“Our trucks have the ability to establish a water supply from a standing water source. These can include rivers, bayous, lakes, ditches, ponds or swimming pools,” he said. “As a department we have a floating pump, this can be deployed if our apparatus cannot park near a water source. Our apparatus carry portable water tanks that can be deployed to begin a water shuttle operation if needed. In addition, we have mutual-aid agreements with every fire department that borders our protection district. These agreements give us the ability to request additional water or personnel if needed.”
He went on to admit that having a fire hydrant nearby by makes their job easier but the fire company is “trained, equipped and regularly respond to fires in areas that do not have fire hydrants.”