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Fire truck arrived at burning home without water, fire department says

15 Comments

A fire truck arrived at the scene of a blazing fire without firefighters realizing there was no water in its tank in Isa City, Kagoshima Prefecture, last month.

The Isa fire department revealed the incident this week, adding that firefighters had to fetch water from a nearby lake, which delayed the hosing down procedure by five minutes, Fuji TV reported. 

Furthermore, the fire department has decided to reprimand five fire chiefs for neglecting their duties. 

The incident occurred on the night of Oct 23. The fire truck had initially arrived at the scene 10 minutes after receiving the emergency phone call. At the time, two-thirds of a home and warehouse had been engulfed by flames. It took an hour and eight fire trucks to fully extinguish the fire. However, no injuries were reported. 

The fire truck that was initially dispatched had undergone repairs just four days prior and crew members apparently forgot to load the vehicle with water upon its return. 

The Isa fire department said in a statement: “This careless mistake is unacceptable among professionals. We promise to conduct thorough inspections and show better leadership from now on.”

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15 Comments
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Pardon me for my ignorance, but don't they have fire hydrants or underground pipes to get water from in the event that their stored water isn't enough?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Hmmm doesn't the driver feel the weight of the truck or aren't there some signals/gauges that water is empty? of course that requires logical thinking.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

adding that firefighters had to fetch water from a nearby lake, which delayed the hosing down procedure by five minutes,

Well kudos I guess for problem-solving in such a short time and thank goodness there was a lake nearby!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All these drills and training mean nothing if they are not taught to think. Perhaps they were distracted by training for the new year fire department extravaganza.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Pardon me for my ignorance, but don't they have fire hydrants or underground pipes to get water from in the event that their stored water isn't enough?

I think that the case above provides you with the answer

Hmmm doesn't the driver feel the weight of the truck or aren't there some signals/gauges that water is empty? of course that requires logical thinking.

You would think, that there should have been a clear indicator or water levels. Even if they had had to spend a few minutes more at the station filling up, it would have prevented a lot of the damage.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Couldn't make it up!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Only five minutes? That’s prettty good, to be honest. There’s no excusing the oversight but it is relieving that they know how to think on their feet.

I regularly see local fire fighters training at their stations or on the streets, it’s quite a sight. They take their jobs super seriously.

Pardon me for my ignorance, but don't they have fire hydrants or underground pipes to get water from in the event that their stored water isn't enough?

Only in certain places. If you pay close attention while walking through neighborhood, you’ll see red, circular signs for either a FIRE HYDRANT or FIRE CISTERN. More developed places have a high pressure tap, while more rural areas either have buried water tanks... or nothing at all.

it does seem a little backwards, but newer construction I see, like new apartment buildings, do include sockets for fire hoses. It’s probably a matter of limited resources and a LOT of old construction throughout the country. Going back and laying pipe in places where houses are still using wells or nested in the mountains would be quite an undertaking.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wouldn't common sense tell them to check their water gauge daily among other things during their morning inspections? I'm not a firefighter, but I would do that for starters.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ok, they arrived without water, but surely had the equipment to rush into the building and pull out any persons stuck therein ? That in itself would be good in my books.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wouldn't common sense tell them to check their water gauge daily among other things during their morning inspections? I'm not a firefighter, but I would do that for starters.

An experienced firefighter would know instantly if his engine were full of water or not - on account of the way the vehicle handled.

These guys were as thick as mince. No excuses.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Wow, clearly they do not take their job seriously. Of course there is a gauge that shows the water level

in the tank. No one bothered to look at it. They are lucky no one burned to death due to their error.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I can only speak about my European point of view:

Hmmm doesn't the driver feel the weight of the truck

Depends on the type of the truck and the amount of water. If there's only a small water tank, there's only a small weight difference. When there's a large tank (several 1000 liters), then you'll notice it. Your worst problem is a half filled tank.

aren't there some signals/gauges that water is empty?

We have signals, but only at the pump at the end of the truck. There's no signal at the driver's place. It's your duty to refill the tank after emptying it.

Ok, they arrived without water, but surely had the equipment to rush into the building and pull out any persons stuck therein ?

One of the first things that I have learned is to care for self protection. Without water this might be a rush into suicide. One has to decide by fact if this would be possible. As hard as it may sound, but one dead person in the house is better than the one and two additional firefighters dying there. At least European fire fighters don't (want to) need memorials with the names of their fallen heroes – they want their fellow comrades alive and ready for the next call of emergency.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

When does the 90 degree bowing start?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

They should all be fired. Or the fire department should be abolished as punishment.

But naturally nothing will happen because public workers don’t get fired.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Only in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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