Metro Atlanta fire agencies add water tankers amid water shortage

Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 11:18 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Water shortages across many cities in metro Atlanta have led to some fire agencies calling in for reserve water sources.

In College Park, a 3,000-gallon water tanker arrived on Monday from Tift County.

Without the tankers on standby Fire Chief Wade Elmore said their fire response would be limited.

“Right now, our city has been without water for the last two days and we wouldn’t be able to do anything,” said Chief Elmore.

The Tift firefighter told Atlanta News First he’s already responded to two metro fires, in Morrow, and in Atlanta, at an apartment complex near the airport.

“I didn’t jump, but I did have to get on the ladder and climb down. And I had to do it quickly. I could see the smoke coming out of the balcony door. It was getting darker,” said Morgan Barnes, who was one of a handful of residents who escaped the morning fire.

Barnes’ section of the apartment complex was a complete loss.

By Wednesday evening, Clayton County fire officials still had not released any information regarding the fire or the department’s response.

Neighbors on the scene told Atlanta News First it appeared the fire crews were limited by low water pressure from the fire hydrants.

PREVIOUS STORY: Residents lose everything in fire at Clayton County townhomes

The tanker driver told Atlanta News First he was able to refill his tanker using those hydrants, albeit slowly.

Chief Elmore said he has up to eight water tankers at his disposal, with the help of area agencies, should a major fire break out in College Park.

In South Fulton, fire officials told Atlanta News First they have two tankers on hand and are prepared to call on others if needed.

Barnes was not injured but said she was frustrated over the County’s struggle to address the water shortage and the County’s response to the apartment fire.


“Prepare your infrastructure. I feel like they know the city is growing, the climate is growing, and I feel like we should be prepared. It’s 2022,” Barnes said.

On Thursday, Clayton County officials will hold a press conference to address the County’s service conditions and the state of repairs, according to a release issued Wednesday evening.