Challenges that small town fire departments face

Most rural areas do not have a full hydrant system

WARWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – Many towns in Franklin County rely on each other in emergencies, like the house fire in Warwick.

A mother and four children were killed in the house fire at 405 Richmond Road, which started just before 1:00am Saturday morning. When firefighters got there, the home was already fully engulfed in the flames.

The Turners Falls Fire Department was one of 16 that came to help.

Chief John Zellmann of the Turners Falls Fire Dept. told 22News, “All the towns around us, and as with them, we respond to them on a regular basis. We don’t have the man-power. That’s one of the big issues we have in Franklin County.”

Chief Zellmann noted that other issues for fire departments include travel time and water supply. Firefighters had to use water from a pond about a quarter mile away from the home, since Warwick does not have hydrants.

Turners Falls and Greenfield both have a full hydrant system, but most rural areas do not.