Atoka family says faulty hydrant cost them everything - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Atoka family says faulty hydrant cost them everything

Trudy and Jason Griffin and their three young children lost everything when their house went up in flames Wednesday afternoon. 

They might have been able to salvage some of what was inside, but firefighters did not have enough water to put out the flames fast enough.

"My son took it hard. He's the oldest. He's 7. His birthday party was Saturday and all of his presents are over there," Trudy Griffin said.

Griffin had just left the house with her three week old daughter when it went up in flames. She thinks a malfunctioning dishwasher is to blame.

She was hoping a fire hydrant in front of the house next door would come in handy.  But it didn't.
 "When we got to the closest fire hydrant that was there it was off.  It was a dry fire hydrant," Atoka Fire Chief J. Bronson said.

"Approximately 45 minutes later a tanker truck appeared with water. When my house was gone," Griffin said.

Munford Atoka Fire Chief J. Bonson said the Quito fire department and Poplar Grove Utility District are responsible for maintaining hydrants in this area.

Bronson said the local water company will sometimes shut off hydrants to do maintenance work and flush the lines.  It's possible this one never got turned back on.

Bronson said even a working hydrant wouldn't have saved this home. 

The Griffins disagree.

"My house couldn't have been saved when the fire trucks got here, but some of the items inside could have been salvaged had there been water in the hydrant," Griffin said.

While fire may have taken their home and everything in it, the Griffins said it cannot destroy what is in their hearts. 

"I have my family we have our memories we have a lot of love," Griffin said.

And they said when they rebuild they are hoping a fire hydrant so close to home will be reliable. 

Click here to e-mail Ben Watson.

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