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Firefighters struggle with water shortage

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Firefighters battling blazes caused by everything from natural gas leaks to candle accidents are paradoxically struggling with a shortage of usable water in the flood-ravaged city.It could take weeks or months before the city regains water service and electricity, meaning people will continue burning candles.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot more fires,” Fire Capt. Scott Chappuis said Tuesday.

Unclean river and flood water can be used to fight fires but only as a last resort. The contaminates and debris damage the pumping systems.

The lack of water has forced the department to consolidate all its operations in Algiers, the only section of the city that has water service and working hydrants.

However, Algiers is across the Mississippi River from the vast majority of the city, forcing fire trucks to make time-consuming trips to fill up with water.

At least four fires broke out in the city before noon Tuesday.

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