Faulty Fire Hydrants Cause Headaches For Homeowners

Friday, July 15th 2011, 5:58 pm
By: News 9

Jon Jordan, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Firefighters battling an Oklahoma City house fire Friday morning were surprised when the nearby fire hydrant they had planned to use wasn't working.

The failure slowed firefighters somewhat, but they managed to work around the failure.

An Oklahoma City Fire Department spokesman said such failures are rare and firefighters know how to deal with such problems.

"It happens on occasion, so it's not totally unexpected when it does happen," said Chief Keith Bryant.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department inspects its hydrants once every year, but the way it's done it's possible hydrants could go well over a year before they are tested again. That's something Bryant doesn't see as a problem.

"I would say that the fact that because these are rare occurrences that our current hydrant inspection is adequate," Bryant said.

An inspection is required on each hydrant one time a year. That inspection can fall at any time in the calendar year. That means some hydrants could easily go over a year before they are tested again.

Take for instance the hydrant near northwest 88th and Shartel that didn't work. It was last inspected in March 2010. That's 16 months ago.

Tony Haney, the homeowner who lost his home to the fire Friday morning said he doesn't fault the firefighters or the faulty hydrant in the loss of his home.

"They've done a real good job. It was already on fire by the time they got here anyways," he said.

Bryant said that hydrants that are found to be defective are referred to the city water department for repairs.