VIDEO: Marco homes built too far from fire hydrants

Video from NBC-2

— There are safety concerns on Marco Island after an advisory board said more than 300 homes there are too far away from fire hydrants.

One councilman says it's the result of poor planning when the island was first established.

City leaders are now exploring a two-pronged plan - adding a $500,000 tanker to the fire department for now and then later coming up with $6-million to permanently add and replace hydrants.

Click here for more on NBC-2.

Marco Eagle correspondent Danielle Dodder has more coverage from Monday's special meeting of the Marco City Council.

Read her full story at

A memo prepared by the public works department explains, “the issue of concern is the distance between fire hydrants and certain residential properties. Many properties are not within 500 feet of a fire hydrant and some are in excess of 1,000 feet. City Council requested that the UAB review this issue and report back to City Council prior to establishing the FY11 Water and Sewer Department budget.”

“We consider this a safety issue and it should be addressed as soon as possible,” Ken Honecker, chairman of the UAB, explained to Council. “We took an outside of the box approach by recommending that 1,000 feet would cover us. Six million will get us to all fire hydrants in 1,000 feet.”

Honecker recommended borrowing from the general fund for the project and repayment of funds by the water and sewer department using operating funds.

Chairman Frank Recker asked of the number of inadequate hydrants, “Where is the hard evidence for this? Is it just anecdotal?”

Read her full story at

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Comments » 14

ajm3s writes:

Remember folks, shell driveways were a safety hazard as stated by Mr. Murphy several months ago. Remember, the gurney demonstration. Is this another NEW recently developed safety hazard?

To keep this discussion in focus please review Uniform Fire Code (UFC). I do not want misinformation to be spewed about and risk the ire of some bloggers.

To make the claim that the city was poorly planned is to cast judgment on Fire Safety professionals in the past. If I could review the files of years past, I suspect the city council would claim they had the best professionals as we have today. In the past 50 years, have fire hydrant specifications and spacing changed? I understand that Marco Island is a "home rule" charter and can adopt ordinances that it deems necessary for the benefit of its residents.

So I ask, is Marco Island embarking on another "improvement" that will "enhance" safety?

This additional cost without a true evaluation of risk is tantamount to the most blatant disregard to fiscal responsibility.

There are many issues that play into safely protecting a home. Currently under review by Uniform Building Code review committee is the inclusion of fire suppression systems for single family homes. But with the variable pressure, as experienced by citizens last summer, I suspect hydrant spacing is not going to solve the issue.

I challenge the belief that the city of Marco Island was poorly planned. I believe certain areas were not provided with standard 500ft spacing of hydrants was a function of the larger sizes of the lots. The city compensated for hydrant spacing by having an adequate amount of pumper trucks to transfer water from pumper to pumper.

We keep evaluating safety without any regard for the cost especially on an island that is dependent on expensive RO water. We should be evaluating ways to conserve water not more access points to distribute water.

Is this another attempt to expand the city water supply in an envoronment in which there are more vacant lots than 10 years ago, to the point that it is cost prohibitive for existing users?

There are many alternate means to reduce risk of fire to outlying areas and an interim tanker is costly and not needed. If you did not need it in 2000, why do we need it now? Why is this a safety issue today.

Again, there is something going on just like the shell driveway debacle that is not apparent to those of us who do not walk the halls of City Hall. To claim safety now is dubious.

Yankee writes:

Let me guess, they are going to raise the water fees again too.

Ian_Curtis writes:

I was assessed for the STRP at my house so I think they should assess those 300 homeowners for the new hydrants. They chose to build too far from a hydrant, they should pay for it.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Dig up the roads again?
They couldnt have done this during the STRP?

ajm3s writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I want to ask our city councilors:

IS THERE AN OVERWHELMING CRY FROM RESIDENTS THAT THEY need MORE HYDRANTS AND A WATER TRUCK in the interim. Can the city please serve the needs actually requested from concerned residents.

From where I stand, it looks like a self-serving exercise for safety personnel. I have a simple request, quit drumming up new ways to spend monies for more equipment and more infrastructure. How about we bring existing roads (i.e. road to Goodland) that need attention and have residents requesting specific actions be taken. In fact, they spent time and monies for a shovel ready project. This item would have a much higher impact on safety especially during flooding.

I could list at least 20 items that need to be addressed that would be of greater importance than fire hydrants. If you want the list, simply play back the city council meetings and listen to the public comments of the last 6 months.

ajm3s writes:

I cannot comprehend the rationale and rhetoric of those pushing this agenda. I believe it could be made into a movie: "Clueless in Marco"

Wake up council and stop this expansionary march to madness. Oil spill reserve fund and recent creation of a new position to address foreclosures is anathema to smarter, leaner government. We need true leadership, not consultants.

Recommendation: Define core needs and establish budget. Also define core capabilities of departments. For example, I believe the Finance Dept should be able to do a cash-flow analysis without additional personnel. If not, replace personnel to meet core competency.

pageport writes:

Two words (Extension hose)

ajm3s writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I like the reference to Nero. What a great line. History is such a great source of insight.


ajm3s writes:

in response to Klabautermann:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I will not identify anyone as an island-idiot. What I will ask the citizens of Marco Island is to make evaluations of risk and look at the suggestions that the city is recommending.

Look at the how Mr. Murphy evaluates risk and watch council cringe when safety is at stake. Safety is typically used at council meetings to justify expenditures without discussion of risk management. They use great talking points but never actually show real Marco Island data. Ask if there are changes on Marco Island, since it became a city, that make it more unsafe? In other words, since 2000 we have had fire hydrants that were placed per specifications detailed in the layout of water lines that were approved by the state of Florida and Collier County.

Now in 2010, in a economic climate that is placing undue financial strain on many residents, the city is embarking on expensive projects and expansion of personnel. (Review the initial request for a tanker truck last spring). And the tanker with 3 additional firefighters, one per shift for support. And this "solution" is an interim solution to inadequate water distribution. Unbelievable.

Given this economic backdrop, I watch a city address catastrophic risk by requesting 1.2MM contingency fund for a oil spill and now a tanker and all its trimmings. This is the "outside the box" strategy from those responsible for safety.

In returning to the term island-idiot, Mr. Murphy from my perspective behaves more like a politician than a safety professional. He constantly claims safety is the issue but he disregards the professional nature of the men and women he represents. He diminishes the capability of the equipment and personnel he currently has and simply laments that he needs more.

I am sorry but I lost confidence in Mr. Murphy when I watched him actually claim that a shell driveway was a safety hazard. He in essence, made the indirect claim that his staff was not adequately prepared to handle emergency situations and ran the risk of increased back injury. Quite a perspective for a Fire Chief.

I am not a firefighter nor a policemen, but I grew up listening to stories around the kitchen table of fire incidences and the occasional breakdown of command or equipment failure or loss of life. Our family was immersed in this climate and I became intimately aware. But to create a sense that this island is compromised from a perspective of safety, is far from what I heard listening to those that told their stories so many years ago.

If you wish to continue to use the term island-idiot, I suggest you redirect the term to those that are responsible for managing the city or departments for the welfare of its citizens and choose to misinterpret the responsibility.

Or maybe I expect too much in those that I rely on to protect me from harm, both financial and incendiary.

ajm3s writes:

I understand that people have different perspectives, but I thought Islandeye's last comment was a tongue-in-cheek or is it facetious remark. That is how I read it and I thought it was comical in the sense that we are speaking of the need to address this new safety (fire) concern. His reference to Nero was funny in the sense that a catastrophic event as the burning of Rome fit with his scenario. I took it as a joke.

I wish there was a font for sarcasm. But to all the bloggers out there I encourage the medium, because sometimes I believe there are great points raised that I are not raised in council or expressed by city management.

I will go on record expressing my appreciation for the services provided by those employed and serve this city. But I will point out those things that seem to be unsound. I respect all that serve and that is why I tend not to engage in name calling, but at times it is soooooooooooooooooo tempting.

They way I look at life is to frame most concerns with respect to establishing priorities against an environment of limited resources and that will never change. Government has a propensity to spend with the intent of solving problems. Sometimes, I believe doing nothing is an effective response that does not get much credit.

Using the shell driveway as an example, I believe the city did not have to change an ordinance and spend two years debating the issue. The proper response was to address one city employee's interpretation (Mr. Olmstead). I am vigilant of those that serve this island misinterpreting their responsibilities and extending the reach of government.

And as you had said in your opening, it is only an opinion.

islandgma writes:

Who keeps removing my posts? I say nothing but what is on my mind like the rest of you blow hards...come on, let's be a little more respectful of other's opinions. But then again, you must be some of the people that think they are more important than others.

ajm3s writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I agree completely, and I love the occasional sarcasm that is beyond reproach. It adds color to this island.

marcofriend writes:

It is important to remember what this issue really is about. A poor purchase of a Utility in 2003, not enough due diligence and finding out this utility had 4 inch supply lines throughout certain parts of the city which not only gives poor pressure for fire fighting, but also to houses. This will be fixed no matter what. The big question is can we wait just 18 months to accomplish the fix without a new pumper truck and 3 new firemen on the payroll? It seems we can, looking back and seeing we've dealt with this since 2003. If you give Chief Murphy his new pumper and 3 people, we'll own them forever and still have to fix the problem. The UAB gave a good assessment and showed how to do this without spending $260,000 per year and adding more employees, but since the council won't listen to any of their other recommendations, why should they listen to this one.

ajm3s writes:

Here is my attempt to provide a video counterview to the NBC2 News. I hope it provides real counterpoint for a fair and balanced report.

Here is how Islamorada handles the problem. Note: salt water, and review comment about tanker.

Real firefighters, real problems, real solutions. Hmmm. and this group does not like a water truck since 3000 gallons doesn't last long and given they actually have a tanker truck in its arsenal. Imagine that, granted it is the opinion of this firefighter. But nonetheless, they are professionals and have equipment that is versatile to meet a host of site conditions.

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