The Lansing Board of Aldermen approved a request from the Lansing Volunteer Fire Department (LVFD) to use the town’s water supply at no charge for a new fire hydrant.
Representatives from the fire department presented the request at the Feb. 10 meeting of the board, citing benefits the town would glean from the addition of a hydrant.
“This could make the difference in being able to stop a fire at one building versus it taking out two or three buildings before we can get ahead of it,” Ellen Reedy of the LVFD said.
Lansing doesn’t have any active hydrants, which means the fire department fills the fire trucks with water drawn from Big Horse Creek.
Jerry Reedy with the LVFD said it takes approximately 15 minutes to fill a fire truck drawing water from a creek, whereas a fire hydrant can fill a truck in two to three minutes.
“A matter of a few minutes can mean a lot. From point of ignition at a fire, you only have about 15 minutes before [a structure] is fully engulfed in flames,” Jerry said.
He said a hydrant, while saving valuable time, would be also increase safety for members of the fire department who have to endure dangerously low water temperatures when filling trucks from the creek in the winter months.
Volunteer fireman Jeff Venable told the board that the morning in 1990 when Tuckerdale Baptist Church was destroyed by a fire it was 16 degrees and the department had complications from trucks and hoses freezing while drawing water from the creek.
“I’ve been with the fire department in Lansing for 30 years, and I don’t want to see anything else happen to this town,” Venable said.
As part of the request to use the town water at no charge, the LVFD will pay for the cost of the hydrant, installation in a pre-existing hook-up and maintenance.
“We’re not asking to use [the municipal water supply] every day, but just to have it available in times of emergencies when it would be much safer to fill our trucks from a hydrant than to draw from the creek,” Ellen said, adding that when Jefferson and West Jefferson fire departments are called to Lansing for mutual aid they are unable to draw water from the creeks because of maintenance issues creek water can cause in trucks equipped only to draw from a hydrant.
Lansing Mayor George Rembert said he saw no concerns about depleting the town water supply as the town water tank holds between 25,000-50,000 gallons of water while the department would use approximately 5,000 gallons to fill the trucks.
Representatives from the fire department said it was likely that the addition of a hydrant would lower fire insurance rates for those residents who live within the Lansing city limits.
“Just the benefit of having the hydrant would be well-worth any water usage cost that we’ll have,” Rembert said after board members unanimously approved the request from the Lansing Volunteer Fire Department.
In other action taken by the board:
• Wendy Painter from Greater Lansing Area Development (GLAD) requested funding in the amount of $1,000 a month from the town to pay the project manager of the Lansing Park expansion project. The board will review finances and provide an answer to GLAD at a later date.
• Dorne Pentiss, owner of the Old Lansing School, requested approval from the board and mayor in absentia to apply for an ABC permit allowing the building owners to establish a private club in the Old School building which could sell alcohol. The board will review the request when the appropriate paperwork is received.
• In attendance were: Ashe County Manager Sam Yearick, Lansing Mayor George Rembert, Bernice Prestwood, Board members Jack Brown, Brenda Reeves, Michelle Slaton, Dylan Lightfoot and Mauvine Shepard.
The next meeting of the Lansing Board of Alderman will be at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 10 at Lansing Town Hall.
Christina Day can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @CDayinWJ