Neighbor was low, but man says water pressure was even lower

By Cara Bailey | Aug 31, 2007

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County man has filed a suit against the City of Clendenin's Municipal Water Works and his neighbor, claiming his neighbor burned down his house and the water pressure was too low for firefighters to put out the fire.

Robert Gene Hiskey of Clendenin filed a suit Aug. 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court against his neighbor, Roy Sayre, and the water company.

According to the suit, Sayre "set fire to his own home in an attempt to burn down the dwelling of his neighbors."

The fire spread to Hiskey's home. According to the suit, Hiskey called 911 and used his own garden hose in an effort to save his home.

Hiskey claims he was able to put out the initial fire using his garden hose, but suffered smoke inhalation in the process.

According to the suit, Clendenin's Volunteer Fire Department responded to the call within 15 minutes of the notice, but once on the scene discovered there was not enough water pressure coming from the fire hydrant to fight the fire at any residence.

Hiskey claims his house is a total loss, including personal property such as the family's pets, a cat and a dog.

According to the suit, the water company should have known about the water pressure problem because the Kanawha County School Board fought for a waiver in the past, claiming the water company was providing inadequate service to Herbert Hoover High School. The school board won the injunction.

Hiskey claims the company is negligent by failing to provide water and water pressure sufficient enough to assure public safety.

According to the suit, Hiskey was seriously injured and incurred $13,122.15 in medical bills and property damages of approximately $75,000.

Hiskey seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney Michael T. Clifford is representing Hiskey. The case has been assigned to Judge James Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-1769

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