BAYSIDE -- North Shore firefighters battled a house fire Thursday, April 12th on N. Rexleigh Dr. just south of Fairy Chasm Rd. The home was declared a total loss.
The fire broke out around 1:30 p.m. and FOX6 News learned everyone in the home made it out of the home safely. Firefighters battled the blaze for over four hours. An elderly couple had lived in the home for 50 years, and watched the fire engulf their home from across the street Thursday.
Brian Borkin lives next door to the home that burned. He said he couldn't imagine what the family must be going through. "I just couldn't believe the total destruction of the house. I can't imagine watching your whole house burn down like that and having a front row view of that, and not being able to do anything about it," Borkin said.
Because there are no fire hydrants in Bayside, firefighters had to bring water in via tanker truck to battle the fire, and call for extra help. Six trucks carrying 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of water each brought the water in, and then went to nearby hydrants to refill. Six engine companies, three ladder companies, four ambulances and several chief officers were also on the scene.
"There`s an issue when a community or area doesn`t have fire hydrants. We have to put more people and dedicate more time and people to that operation, versus if you have fire hydrants, you have a static water source that`s right there. We have tankers in our fleet, but any sort of decent or large-sized fire, we need to bring in help from other communities to do that," North Shore Fire Chief Robert Whitaker said.
The entire village of Bayside once had no fire hydrants at all, but over the years, Bayside has installed them to protect about half of the properties and officials say it all comes down to cost. "Every couple of years they talk about doing it and how it will be $10,000 per house. After seeing this, it might not be a bad idea," Borkin said.
Fire officials told FOX6 News not having fire hydrants didn't slow down the efforts to fight the fire, but they did have to bring in a lot more people to tend to the water - carrying it to the scene and refilling the pools set up to hold the water, which complicated the process.
Streets in the Bayside neighborhood were blocked off close to the fire.
The initial damage estimate for the structure and contents of the home is approximately $350,000.
Fire officials say it is unclear whether there were working smoke detectors in the home.