Lack of fire hydrants causes homeowners insurance to rise

by Jacqueline Sit
NewsWest 9

There aren't that many fire hydrants out here and that raises many concerns for neighbors like Harland Johnson who lives in the area, because it's costing quite a price tag on his home insurance.

Harland Johnson has lived here for a decade and his frustrations are growing because the lack of fire hydrants is building a cause for concern.

"It's very frustrating, I can't afford insurance and I will not pay the kind of rates that they demand, I'll just have to be paranoid and be very careful with fire," says Harland Johnson, a homeowner in West Odessa.

Around his West Odessa neighborhood, the only working fire hydrant is almost two miles away at a local school, and that's costing him more than his daily worries.

"Most insurance that I talk to will not insure a house at a standard rate unless there is a fire hydrant within 440 yards or a quarter mile," says Johnson.

Johnson says his home insurance is estimated to cost triple the amount.

"If there is a fire hydrant, say down in the corner let's say 300 yards my rate would be about $560 because I don't have one, and the closest one is two and half miles away.  It costs $1380 something odd dollars," says Johnson.

For now, Ector County Commissioner Freddie Gardner says there is a utility service district that provides water to parts of the country, but the lack of fire hydrants in other areas and the scarce water supply and funding.  Help is something that's almost out of their reach.

"When you're dealing with the federal government the state government and local entities, there are always something popping up that's causing the delays," says Gardner, who has lived in West Odessa for 41 years.

Now a local group is pushing for a state grant, hoping to put this resident and other's water worries away.

"The West Odessa water supply corporation working diligently to expand water service out past the utility service district," says Gardner.

"It's just expensive, I don't know how much it'll cost to dig deep enough to lay a 10 or 14 inch water main," says Johnson.

In the meantime, they say they're stuck at a dead end.

"I been here for about 10 years, I own it, it's mine and I take care of it as best I can," says Johnson.

The West Odessa Volunteer Fire Department helps out this part of town in an event of an emergency.

As for the grant, keep it right here on NewsWest Nine as we'll continue to follow this developing story.