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Lack of fire hydrants in rural Oklahoma County causing problems for fire crews

A fire hydrant in northeast Oklahoma City. (KOKH)

With dry and windy conditions in Oklahoma, the fire danger remains high. However, that's not the only obstacle some local fire departments face. For some in eastern Oklahoma County, it's getting enough water to fight the flames.

Tuesday evening, a home in Choctaw was destroyed after flames ripped through it and fire crews searched for water.

"Well we had fire hydrants, they're down at the end of the road but they're brand new and they're not in service," said Choctaw Fire Chief, Loren Bumgarner.

It's become a problem for many rural fire departments.

"The biggest challenge is the lack of water supply," said Lt. Paul Deaver.

Lt. Deaver and the crew at Station 36 in far southeast Oklahoma City face the same uphill battle when it comes to fighting fires. Deaver showed us a map of the closest water sources. In some areas the closest hydrant could be miles away.

"They need more fire hydrants but the reality of it is, to extend the infrastructure out here, it's probably not going to happen anytime soon, with all of the budget constraints that we've faced lately. The closest Oklahoma City hydrant that we have to our south is over 10 miles away," he said.

Oklahoma City Fire has several water supply tankers. At station 36, they have one, that can carry 3,000 gallons of water.

"We have to conserve every drop of water that we can on a fire because we don't have that unlimited supply," said Deaver.

When the water runs out, the crews need leave the fire and go refill the tanker.

"That's the time it takes to leave the scene get to a water supply, fill up and return to the scene. Often times that turnaround time is 20 to 25 minutes," said Deaver.

Station 36 tells FOX 25 that in many cases they are on standby to be mutual aid for other rural departments in eastern Oklahoma County.

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