Small pipe lines in Westfield made it difficult to stop deadly fire

WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A deadly fire over the weekend has left some neighbors in Westfield concerned about their own safety.

While it isn’t something that didn’t directly contribute to the deaths of two women on Saturday, it is a concern moving forward. Smoke detectors that didn’t work and hoarding were the reasons two women didn’t make it out alive.

No working smoke detectors in deadly Westfield house fire

The Westfield Fire Department also had to deal with low pressure from the fire hydrants they were using. Fire Chief Mary Regan told 22News that is not uncommon, but the firefighters don’t know how well a hydrant will flow until they use it.

DPW Director Dave Billips said they are starting to color code hydrants to make it clear for firefighters, but with the size of some of the underground pipes, it’s like fighting a fire with a garden hose.

“There’s plenty of pressure in the system hydraulically it’s fine, the tanks were all full no less pressure than we ever have in the system, it’s just that you can’t get the water through those small lines,” said Billips.

Billips told 22News that the problem is that these pipes are small and more than 100 years old. He also said the smaller 4 inch water mains need to be replaced. Which can be costly.

Victims of deadly Westfield house fire identified