The Flooded Pump Room

In February 2021, the Portland metro area was hit by a snowstorm. No big deal, I worked from home for a couple of days, the snow melted, and all was peachy… One exception, I had a fire pump to the commission. The fire pump house was located at the lowest point on the property. This fire diesel fire pump was retrofitted into a 25-year-old system which was fed by a pond. The fire pump and driver had been neglected for so long that there were frogs living in the discharge, and rats had chewed through the belts on the engine.

Now, all of the snowmelt had collected in the lowest point, which happens to be normal behavior for water. So, I showed up and there was a foot of water in the fire pump room. Not ideal.

I happened to have the trusty old trash pump in the truck, planning to help my grandfather dewater his backyard afterward. This was merely a coincidence as I do not typically bring a trash pump with me to a fire pump start-up. So, we fired it up and were able to get enough water out of the pump room so that it was not running over the top of our boots. I brought waiters the next day.

Luckily, the batteries had not been submerged and I was able to line up the fire pump coupling, verify the block heater was wired properly etc.

After the water had been delt with a week later, I came back out and completed the test.

Moral of the story: the fire pump room does not go in the lowest point in the middle of a field.