PHOTO: About 30 homes on Loop Street are currently out of reach of the nearest fire hydrants, including this 56-year-old house destroyed last summer. City Hall officials will hold a meeting Wednesday about a forthcoming project to replace a water main serving the hilltop enclave and install water hydrants. FILE PHOTO by DON ANDERS
FROM STAFF REPORTS
More than 15 months after a five-alarm fire devastated a hilltop house in the Southwest Hills neighborhood, city officials say they are about to begin work on a public works package that includes installation of the first fire hydrants on Loop Street.
In addition to hydrants, the Loop Street Waterline and Fire Protection Improvements project includes replacing an existing 2-inch diameter water line with nearly a mile of 8-inch diameter water main and adding four intra-system connections designed to improve water service to homes and businesses along Hazelton and Alto streets as well as on Old Ranch Road 12.
City engineers will host a neighborhood meeting on the project at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17 at the San Marcos Activity Center, 501 E. Hopkins St.
The $725,198 construction work will be overseen by Granite Shoals-based M&C Fonseca Construction Co., which submitted the lowest of 13 bids for the job. Construction is scheduled to begin in January and be completed sometime next summer.
Although there are smaller pockets of residential areas around town without fire hydrants, San Marcos Fire Chief Les Stephens said last year, ridgetop Loop Street is by far the largest unprotected area. There are more than 30 houses on Loop Street, nearly all of them fire-prone older homes with wooden frames, pier-and-beam foundations or both.
In addition, the hilly terrain and large, wooded lots create ideal conditions for an urban wildfire that, if not checked quickly enough, could endanger scores of houses in the Southwest Hills, Oak Heights and Heritage neighborhoods.
On July 24 last year, firefighters had to use a relay of tanker trucks to bring in water a few thousand gallons at a time to contain a spectacular blaze that quickly consumed a home at 901 Old Ranch Road 12. The nearest hydrant was on Perkins Street, well out of reach of fire hoses, Stephens said.