Knox County first responders deploy to Chattanooga amid water main break


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A team of Knox County first responders is in Chattanooga Friday night. They’ve been deployed to help as the city deals with the aftermath of a major water main break. Right now 35,000 people in Chattanooga don’t have running water.

A Knox County strike team carried thousands of gallons of water to Chattanooga Friday afternoon. It’s made up of twelve people from the Knoxville Fire Department, Rural Metro and Karns Fire Department, offering support to Chattanooga when and wherever they’re needed.

RELATED: Major water main break affects tens of thousands in Chattanooga; Knox deploys strike team to help

“Chattanooga is basically out of water right now because of this large water main break that they have. They need support for fire fighting water and for their hospitals and things like that. We’re going to help bring water in,” said KFD Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks.

KFD, along with Rural Metro and Karns Fire Department, transported 9,000 gallons of water total to help support the fire fighting or water system in Chattanooga.

They’re prepared to keep helping out, as needed.

“We may have to go out into rural Hamilton County somewhere and get more water and bring it back into Chattanooga, we can do that constantly all night long, all day long as needed,” Wilbanks said.

A water main break late Thursday night left a major part of the city without water. Officials provided an update on the repair at a press conference Friday evening.

“We’re working around the clock to complete these repairs. If the repair is successful we would anticipate to be completed by Saturday morning,” they said.

Chattanooga is clearly feeling the impact. Water distribution centers are now set up across the city. People even filled buckets with pool water to flush the toilet.

Meanwhile, our local first responders are ready to respond.

“We’ve got Chattanooga’s back, and they’ve got our back, we know that,” Wilbanks said.

KFD tells us this is not only an unusual situation Chattanooga is dealing with, but it’s also unusual for their department to be called in like this, hours away. Their Knox County team could stay in Chattanooga for up to 48 hours.

Meanwhile the Tennessee Aquarium is also feeling the pinch from issues tied to the water shortage. A handful of sea creatures from the Vancouver Island exhibit did not survive.

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