HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- A Holland apartment fire is a reminder about why it's so important to clear snow fromlocal hydrants. Firefighters were able to quickly attack the fire on Oxford Court on Tuesday, because they had already removed snow from a nearby hydrant earlier in the day.
Holland Fire Marshal John Vanderkooy is counting the seconds ittakes for two firefighters to clear off a hydrant buried in snow. "These two guys have spent two minutes and five seconds unburying this hydrant when they could have been rescuing somebody," says Lt. Vanderkooy.
Thedemonstration shows how firefighters are trying to keep up with snow covered hydrants. "In thelast few days our crews have hit about 25 to 30 hydrants," says Vanderkooy.
It alsoshows why the public's help is so crucial. "Ifyou are able to digs those out, dig around and a clear path to the street, that definitely helps us out when we arrive," says Lt. Vanderkooy.
Just a day earlier and a couple blocks away was a real apartment fire. Ironically, just three hours before the apartment fire, firefighters had already cleared snow fromanearbyhydrant because they had identifiedthe apartmentas a high risk area.
Firefighters prioritize clearing hydrants in densely populated areas, without sprinkler systems. "Nursing homes, apartments, condos," says Vanderkooy.
Firefighters were able to save all but one of the six units at the apartment.
"Another two or three minutes of time we would have had to take to shovel off the fire hydrant would have meant that whole attic very well could have been burning," says Lieutenant Brendt Sheridan with the Holland Fire Department.
There's no fine or penalty for not clearing a hydrant, but if firefighters are delayed, it could come with a worse cost.
Holland firefighters say ifa resident is not able to clear one of their hydrants for whatever reason, call the fire department and they will send someone to do it when they are available.