Bags cover hydrants in Charleston after house fire

Published: May. 8, 2023 at 7:42 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - When Sue Ellen McKalip walked outside Friday night, she watched the home two doors down from hers on Chester Road burn to the ground.

“I saw the firemen, they were just struggling just to try to do their job and keep these houses .... pretty close together to try to keep the fire off of the other two homes,” McKalip said.

Charleston firefighters said the hydrant a few hundred feet away did not have enough pressure and next closest one on Beech Avenue did not have enough pressure to fight a fire either.

“Had there been pressure at this fire hydrant at the corner, which is what 500 yards away, I’m not sure we would be talking about what we are talking about right now. I don’t think the house would have been a loss,” McKalip said.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the family that lived inside the historic home.

The Charleston Fire Department said they inspected the hydrants in the area Monday morning. City fire officials said West Virginia American Water was out in the area also working on hydrants.

Both hydrants on Chester Road and Beech Avenue now have bags covering them, signifying they do not work. Charleston Fire officials say other hydrants in the area do work.

The bags were placed on the hydrants Monday.
The bags were placed on the hydrants Monday.(WSAZ)

“If these two fire hydrants were not in working order, did not have enough pressure, should everyone be concerned about the fire hydrants in their neighborhood? Absolutely,” McKalip said.

A spokesperson with WVAW said they were unable to comment on Saturday. Monday, when WSAZ reached back out to WVAW, a spokesperson was unable to comment and did not answer our questions.

WSAZ reached out to the city of Charleston with similar questions to find an answer for concerned residents in the Edgewood community.

WSAZ will continue to reach out to WVAW to find out when the hydrants will be working again. Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest.