Fire Victim's Daughter Questions Response Readiness

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Meridian, Miss. A local woman says she believes her fathers' death in a fire last month in Meridian could have been prevented.

84-year-old Johnny Lee Johnson died in a Nov. 4 fire at his mobile home in the 300 block of 24th Street.

Investigators say they believe a faulty electrical panel was to blame for the fire.

Johnson's daughter, Betty Johnson, says she believes her father's death could have been avoided.

She says a fire hydrant was faulty and that delayed fire fighters from getting into the residence quickly enough to save her father.

"They didn't have a working hydrant. There is a fire hydrant right by my daddy's house; the fire station is right behind my daddy's house. And they could have come out here and got my daddy, but when they hooked up to the hydrant they didn't get any water pressure," said Johnson. "I feel like they could have saved my daddy if they could have gotten any water off of this hydrant to put this fire out."

Fire Chief Anthony Clayton and Fire Marshal Jason Collier say fire hydrants are there to make sure the trucks don't run out of water while fighting fires. They said that the trucks themselves have enough water to fight fires for 10 minutes without hydrants.

"Water was not an issue," said Clayton. "The initial arriving pumper had 1000 gallons. The second pumper had 1000 gallons. The third pumper had 500 gallons. We had two lines that can discharge a maximum of 200 gallons a minute. If you do the math, that's 10 minutes."

With ten minutes of water already on hand and another fire hydrant only 300 feet away, Clayton says there was more than enough time to hook up to the other hydrant. Clayton also says that it still wasn't an issue because the fire was out within the first ten minutes firefighters were there. He says the faulty fire hydrant has since been removed.