Camden fire chief says hydrants, layoffs proved obstacles during 12-alarm blaze

    Camden firefighters say there was a lot working against them yesterday as they struggled to put out a 12-alarm tire factory blaze.

    Fire Chief Michael Harper told the Associated Press it wasn’t just the oppressive heat that kept the fire raging for so long. Threadings stolen from nearby fire hyrdrants meant crews had to pump water from the Cooper River, which Harper said required the work of six engine companies.

    But even after the water had been secured, Harper said his reduced department struggled to control the blaze, which damaged at least parts of 23 buildings. And then the rain came. Lightning forced crews to remove the ladders they’d propped against the building to help extinguish the fire.

    Demolition crews are working today to clear the area so investigators can find the source of the fire.

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