Some Lehigh neighborhoods far from fire hydrants

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LEHIGH ACRES, Fla. A lack of fire hydrants is frustrating residents forced to evacuate during last week’s brush fire.

Most of the 1,100 fire hydrants in Lehigh Acres are in heavily populated areas near businesses. That leaves some less populated areas — like the area affected by the fire — more than a mile away from the nearest hydrant.

Maxine Perry, whose home was one of four destroyed in the blaze, is among those who wish her neighborhood near Sunshine Boulevard North were closer to a hydrant. She wasn’t able to insure her home because of the distance.

“They wanted a fire hydrant on the street and I guess you got to pay for it, and we couldn’t afford that,” Perry said. “We’re both really low income.”

Dots mark fire hydrant locations in Lehigh Acres. (Map via Lehigh Acres Fire Control & Rescue District)

But since residents in areas affected by the fire are on septic and well water, it’s impossible to install a hydrant, as they’re not connected to a main water line, the Florida Governmental Utility Authority said. Extending the mainline would be prohibitively expensive for most homeowners.

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