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Blaze doused despite broken water main

May 8, 2013
By SAVANNAH DEMPSEY (sbarr@sungazette.com) , Williamsport Sun-Gazette

Efforts to put out a house fire on Newberry Street in the Newberry section of Williamsport were complicated on Tuesday after the aging, low-flow water main firefighters tied their equipment into broke under stress.

The fire, which began at about 5 a.m., burned through a garage and the upper floor of a residence at 2750 Newberry St. in the city.

"This fire is still being investigated. We don't expect to have anything to release before tomorrow," Dave Dymeck, deputy chief with the bureau of fire, said late Tuesday.

Firefighters originally tied their equipment onto a hydrant fed by an aging 6-inch water main located under Newberry Street.

The low-flow line, which was scheduled to be replaced in 2015, broke under the additional stress, said Charles Hauser, director of engineering with the Williamsport Municipal Water and Sanitary Authority.

Firefighters were forced to switch over to a higher-pressure line on Hillside Avenue to continue to battle the blaze, he said. Authority staff repaired the main below Newberry Street and issued a water boil advisory for eight houses on Newberry Street until the water can be tested, which could take up to 48 hours, according to Hauser.

No other properties are involved in the boil advisory.

"The line did not break until the fire department started to use the hydrant," Hauser said.

The family, who was home at the time of the blaze, was able to escape without injury, according to officials.

City firefighters battled another unrelated blaze early Tuesday morning. This fire, which began at about 1 a.m., burned through a freestanding garage at 2899 South Reach Road.

Firefighters spent about an hour and a half squashing the flames, which "burned the garage to the ground," Hauser said.

No injuries or displaced persons have been reported in connection with the fire.

The Sun-Gazette's Mark Maroney contributed to this article.

 
 
 

 

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