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Water Pressure May Have been a Factor in Saving Sylmar Homes

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Standing on what was his front porch, Norman Cowan, 81, stares at the ruins of his home in Oakridge Mobile Home Park | AP Photo/Reed Saxon

The Sayre Fire destroyed 489 homes and all but nine were at the Oak Ridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar. Just like in Yorba Linda, residents are questioning the hearsay low water pressure. If that is indeed true and water pressure was higher, could homes have been saved?

"County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he was at the mobile home park after the fire burned through on Saturday, and firefighters told him that hydrants had stopped working and they were forced to use their water tenders instead," reported the LA Times.

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Battalion Chief Fred Mathis confirmed that fact to the paper. "We would have had a fair shot if the pressure hadn't gone down." But assistant LA fire marshal Craig Fry said the hydrants were designed to fight house fires, not wildfires. "Open all the hydrants and there's going to be a significant drop in pressure."

Which brings up this question: should hydrants in high fire risk zones be supplied by a system with higher water pressure?