What Happens When Technological Glitches Hinder Problem-Solving?

It is difficult to imagine how Chicago’s firefighters, in 1871, actually fought the fast-moving fire.
Suppose, therefore, that your town has a gas shortage, rendering all fire engines incapable of traveling to the scene of a massive fire.  

Does that scenario help to compare fire-fighting today with fire-fighting in 1871? If not, do you have a better comparison? What is it?

What would fire fighters do, today, if a gas shortage actually happened?  

How would they get to the scene of the fire?  

How would they transport their equipment?  

How much time would they lose?  How would lost time impact their fire-fighting abilities?

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