BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It is no secret that the City of Buffalo has an older water system. With temperatures this morning in the 20s, it can create problems when fighting fires.
"This area here always has low water pressure. Its old mains, small mains, and they are old and tired. We had a problem with a hydrant, I have to investigate to see if it was frozen, which again slowed us down a bit," said Buffalo Fire Department Division Chief Don McFeely.
While fighting the Timon Street fire, which claimed the life of a young mother and badly burned her 3-year-old child, the Buffalo Fire Department was forced to switch to a different water supply on Best Street.
It was initially thought that the cold temperatures might have been the reason for the issues, but later in the morning Fire Commissioner Garnell Whitfield said it was just a standard pressure issue.
"We had the city engineer of the water department on location with us working to deal with those things. Those things are inherent with what we do. We have an old infrastructure and those are things that we become adept at dealing with and they were able to work around those things last night," Whitfield said.
The fire commissioner also said that everything went according to plan in this instance.
Water pressure is monitored at the Porter Avenue site and there is also an engineer at the location of the fire.
"There are always concerns when you deal with water pressure, there are things that you have to monitor and we monitor them very well. We have six-inch lines out there, so we have a redundant system out there which helps with the pressure as well and any time we need to go to another hydrant, we send an engineer on site that helps them with those issues," explained Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak.
Stepniak also said the city is analyzing which lines need to be upgraded. They will first take a look at areas where the six-inch lines are.
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