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Augusta County barn destroyed in fire, Fire and Rescue addresses public water availability

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 4:47 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — A barn on Entry School Rd. in Augusta County was destroyed this week after catching fire just before 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Fire and rescue had to call in multiple tankers to put out the fire because no hydrants were nearby.

“At that point, we have to set up what’s called, ‘a tanker shuttle,’ and then we have to run tankers to different locations to get water and bring it back to the scene. It’s pretty common in Augusta County,” Assistant Fire Chief, Greg Schacht, said.

Firefighters were on the scene for four hours. No injuries were reported.

The cause is undetermined, but Schacht said there was lightning around the area during the time of the fire. However, because so much of the building was lost in the fire, they are unable to pinpoint the cause.

Augusta County Fire and Rescue said the barn would have been a total loss even if hydrants were closer due to the severity of the fire.

Not having access to public water is common in Augusta County. A system has been developed county-wide to ensure water does get on scene.

“A tanker strike team, so we tone five tankers. We try to get about 10,000 gallons of water coming at one time. So, they’ll automatically, the 911 center will automatically dispatch the five closest tankers to that incident,” Schacht said.

Schacht said he wishes there was a fire hydrant in front of every house, but being in a rural area means that's not always feasible.

"You have to have water capabilities in areas to get hydrant systems. If you don't have wells, storage tanks, things like that... It's a big cost to add this system," Schacht said.

Augusta County Fire and Rescue works with the County Service Authority to find out which areas may need more hydrants. Schact said more water systems may be built, but it will just take time.

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