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Placitas, Jemez get tanks

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The Village of Corrales is setting up its first fire hydrant system and decreasing the time it takes to get water to a fire.

Intel Corp. on July 15 donated a 35,000-gallon water tank it was no longer using, said Intel spokeswoman Natasha Martell Jackson. Corrales Fire Chief Anthony Martinez said the tank, located at Corrales Recreation Center, will be a reservoir of water in case of a fire.

“We’re working hard on trying to improve our fire suppression water handling,” he said.

Martinez hopes the tank and the beginning of the fire hydrant system connected to it will improve the village’s ISO rating, which indicates a community’s fire prevention and suppression abilities and affects insurance rates.

“We’re hoping to decrease property insurance,” he said.

Before insurance premiums drop, an inspector has to evaluate the system. With one inspector for the state, it can take a while for that happen.

Martinez aims to have the inspection done within the next year.

The village already has four reservoir tanks, but no hydrants.

Now in Corrales, Martinez said, a truck ferries water from a tank to the fire site, empties it into a portable pool and returns to the tank for more water. So, more water tanks would mean one was more likely to be closer to a fire, and hydrants would allow direct pumping to fire trucks.

By decreasing travel time for the water to a fire, firefighters increase the amount of water per minute they can put on the flames.

Plus, the pump on the new tank will provide 1,000 gallons of water a minute, a much greater volume than the normal 400 gallons a minute.

Corrales Fire Department pieced together funding to install the tank and build a pump house for the hydrant system.

Martinez said the work on the tank was scheduled to finish last week. Construction of the pump room will start within two weeks and take a few months, he said.

The Sandoval County Fire Department is increasing fire protection and decreasing insurance costs with four donated water tanks.

County Fire Chief James Maxon said two 15,000-gallon tanks are at Fire Station 41 in Placitas, and two 30,000-gallon tanks will go to the La Cueva Fire Station in Jemez within the next 30 days. Intel Corp. donated the tanks, which it wasn’t using any more, and the county paid to have them installed.

“We no longer had a need for the tanks, and we always look to donate a lot of our equipment when feasible and/or possible,” said Intel spokeswoman Natasha Martell Jackson, adding that the donations are community outreach and recycling.

Now, Jemez has high property insurance rates because there’s no water system for fire suppression, Maxon said. He hopes the tanks will improve the community’s ISO rating, which affects insurance premiums.

“In the long run, it’ll actually save people money, because their insurance will go down once we get these in and get rated for them,” he said.

In Placitas, Maxon said, some parts of the community have a water system and some don’t. The area of Fire Station 41 and the nearby Placitas Library didn’t have a reservoir until the tanks were installed.

If the library ever catches fire, Maxon said, firefighters will be able to run hoses from the tanks, which would act as fire hydrants.

He said he appreciated Intel repurposing the tanks.

Maxon said he’d like to get water tanks for La Madera, but it probably won’t happen this fiscal year.

“I’d really like to get these two water systems (La Cueva and Placitas) taken care of and go from there,” he said.

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