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The bottled-water well runs dry for some Flint residents as fire stations end distribution

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
The last of Flint's fire stations distributing water stopped today. The distribution is now shifting to community sites set up around the city

Michigan National Guardsmen are no longer handing out water at Flint fire stations. The last one shut down today.

Demand remains so high that Flint Fire Station No. 3 ran out of water hours before its scheduled noon closing as a water distribution site.   

Taniesha Williams came away empty-handed when she stopped by the station around 10 a.m.

“It’s not right and it’s not fair. We really need help,” Williams said as she walked away.    

Since January, National Guardsmen manned five Flint fire stations, handing out cases of bottled water and filters to Flint residents in desperate need. Demand has slowed, but never completely waned. 

Now the job of handing out water has been turned over to community sites staffed by paid employees. The plan is the have one distribution site in each of Flint’s nine wards.

But only five of the nine planned community sites are open. 

Bridget Spencer is with the state’s team responding to Flint’s water crisis. She says they’ve been having trouble nailing down the four remaining sites. Spencer says the difficulty is reaching a deal with property owners for what is expected to be a long-term use of the property.

“We really want to get the sites open,” says Spencer. “We have workers ready to start working … we thought we’d have them all there by now. It turns out to be a little more difficult process than we anticipated,” says Spencer.

Spencer expects the other distribution sites will open in the next month.  She recommends people who need help getting bottled water or filters call 2-1-1 for assistance.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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