PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — When Fifth Third Ballpark caught fire on Jan. 3, there were not enough fire hydrants nearby.
“It slowed us down,” Plainfield Township Fire Chief Dave Peterson said.
He said firefighters may have been able to save more of the ballpark if there was access to more hydrants. There were just two.
That was OK when the place was built 20 years ago:
“At the time the fire code didn’t really specify the number of hydrants,” Peterson explained.
The code has changed since then and is being interpreted more strictly.
Peterson said six or more new hydrants could be installed. He said the people who run the ballpark are living up to their promise to do what they have to for fire safety.
“Their engineers and our engineers are working on a plan to get more pipe in the ground and hydrants around the park,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of ground disturbed when they do that. That could be up to a half a mile of pipe.”
The Whitecaps say most of that work will be done in the autumn, so hopefully it won’t impinge on any of the ball park activities.
Some improvements have already been made. The stadium’s sprinkler system, which failed during the fire when a valve became stuck, has been fixed. They have also installed valves where firefighters can hook up hoses to the water pipes.
Before more hydrants are put in, the fire department will run a hose from a hydrant on the nearby White Pine Trail to the ballpark access road to give them extra water in the event of an emergency.