TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M. (KRQE) – Earlier this week, Larry Barker uncovered a serious public safety issue that’s been going on in New Mexico for years. Firefighters show up to battle a fire only to realize there’s no water coming from the hydrate. For one family in Truth or Consequences that exact scenario and they lost everything.

A five-year investigation by Larry Barker found that there are scores of inoperable fire hydrants across New Mexico with many having been out of order for years. That was catastrophic for the family in T or C who have asked to remain anonymous. They were woke up early one morning in late June to flames coming through the door. “I saw the fire was in the smoke and smelted coming as a carpet under you know, the, the sake of all things in the kitchen,” one family member said.

The parents and their kids got out safely but unfortunately, their dog and cat didn’t make it. They tried to fight the flames until help arrived but things didn’t get better once it did. Crews tried battling the fire with little to no water in their truck and according to a 911 call log, they couldn’t open the hydrant which neighbors say hasn’t been inspected in five years. “We’re not the only fire in town since the end of May that have complained about having inadequate water and not being able to put it out on time,” one family member said.

The fire spread to their neighbor’s house on one side and destroyed the fence connected to their neighbor on the other side. Insurance won’t cover the damage because the family was in a rent-to-own. They hope whoever’s responsibility is to maintain the city’s hydrants does better so no one else goes through the pain they are. “We feel horrible enough that we lost our home, but we feel even more pain for these innocent people here who were going to church sleeping in on their day off. And I mean us as a family was going to wake up on a Sunday morning and go have a barbecue or something and our home instead was burnt to the ground.”

Fire hydrants must be routinely inspected to ensure adequate water flow, however, if a hydrant is found to be inoperable, there’s no requirement to repair it. KRQE News 13 did reach out to the city of Tor C and the volunteer fire department but did not hear back.