By: Lieutenant Tim Burns
One of the challenges that MCFRS faces during rural fire fighting operations is where to get water. In the more urban and suburban areas of the county we use fire hydrants which are rarely more than 1000 feet from any fire. However, in areas of the county that are without municipal water supply, crews have to be more resourceful.
On Sunday, March 29th during a barn fire on Darnestown Road, the initial plan was to use a pond located on the property. Unfortunately, execution of that plan was not possible due to power lines coming down and separating the pond from the fire apparatus. Crews had to rapidly transition to an alternative site, which is where the assistance of a few Montgomery County residents became key.
Paramedic Engine 709 (Hyattstown) noticed a pond that was on the property of Lewis Orchards on
Peach Tree Road,
located about a mile and a half from the fire scene. MCFRS needed to use the pond and associated
parking lot at Lewis Orchard to establish a “fill site” operation to fill water
tankers so that they could shuttle water to the fire engines on the fire scene.
The folks working at LewisOrchard were more than accommodating to the MCFRS operation and really seemed to take the intrusion on their business as a civic duty. They never questioned why or what the crews were doing, they went out of their way to move vehicles and answer questions, and even went as far as using one of their pickup trucks to shuttle some equipment between two engines that were several thousand feet apart.