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FROZEN HYDRANTS HAMPER FIREFIGHTING EFFORT; 2 DIE

A fire killed two people in two makeshift boarding houses Saturday morning as firefighters were unable to use frozen fire hydrants.

Fire Battalion Chief Craig Powell said the frozen hydrants may have let the fire spread from one house to the second as firefighters looked for a working water supply. There may have been as much as a 30-minute delay, he said.

The first fire, which started at about 6 a.m., was brought under control about noon with the help of a half-dozen other agencies, Powell said.

The two victims were adults, but no other identification had been made late Saturday.

Powell said investigators did not expect to find any more victims, but were having some problems determining exactly who was staying at the homes when the fire began.

"It's not supposed to be a rooming house, but there were quite a few people staying there," he said. "It's taking quite a long time to figure out who was there and who wasn't."

There were about 10 people living in both buildings, he said.

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