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CHIEF DEFENDS RESPONSE OF FARMINGTON FIRE CREW

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The fire chief arrived at a burning Farmington home three minutes after being paged and the city's first firetruck was on the scene a minute later, Chief Dave White told the City Council Wednesday. White was responding to what he said are unfounded rumors about the department's response to the Dec. 8 fire.

The firefighters lost their water pressure briefly at one point, White said, but the problem was air in the line and not a dry or inadequate fire hydrant.Hot coals from a fireplace dumped into a trash container ignited at the William Peterson home, 375 E. Spencer Way, the evening of Dec. 8. The fire did between $30,000 and $40,000 damage to the home and its contents.

In his report to the council, White said when he arrived at the home the carport, a vehicle and attic above it were heavily involved.

He directed the first firetruck on the scene, a 500-gallon tanker, to pull up to the house and begin attacking the fire with its onboard water, White said.

The second truck to arrive, a pumper, was directed to lay a line to a hydrant about 300 feet downhill from the home and then begin pumping water, White said.

Air in the line caused the pump to lose its prime for about 30 seconds before an engineer rectified it, according to White. City Engineer Paul Hirst corroborated the information, saying it's a common problem.

White emphasized that at no time did the hydrant or city water system fail.

Three firefighters and a police officer at the scene suffered from smoke inhalation. Two were treated at the scene and treated at Lakeview Hospital.

Peterson attended the meeting Wednesday but did not comment publicly on the incident.