Chief: Fire hydrants should be unobstructed

Many fire hydrants obstructed by bushes
(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - If there's a fire at or near your home, don't you want firefighters to hook up to a water supply quickly?

Captain Kevin Prince with the Jonesboro Fire Department said there are some hydrants in town that are blocked by obstructions.

"The obstructions can be anything," Prince said. "It can be tall grass in the ditches along tree lines. It can be ornamental bushes and other types of pretty plants in well-kept yards. We can take care of the tall weeds, but we do not want to infringe on the things people have in their yards. They've spent big money on it. For whatever reason, they are basically wanting to hide the hydrant. But the problem with hiding the hydrant is it makes it hard for us to use the hydrant in case of a house fire."

Prince said they would soon begin inspecting hydrants for obstructions.

"Firefighters with each individual engine company and truck company are going to go back out and check the hydrants we did early in the Spring for maintenance," Prince said. "This time, we're going to go out looking for obstructions."

Prince said they've already found some hydrants that are a problem.

"So far, we have found fourteen hydrants that are obstructed," Prince said. "Some are not even usable because we can't turn them on or hook up our water hoses, our lines, to them to extinguish the fire."

Prince said there are currently 2,458 hydrants in the city of Jonesboro, which seems like a lot compared to just 14 that are obstructed.

But he wants people to consider the cost of obstructing the hydrants.

"What would you consider your house worth if your house was to catch on fire?" Prince said. "What would you consider part of your family worth if your house was to catch on fire and we can't use that hydrant, and we have to go a long way to hook up to get water to extinguish the fire to save you or your house? When we consider that, .005 is too much."

Prince implores Jonesboro residents to keep the hydrants clear, easy to spot and free of any obstructions that could cost them valuable time.

"Please, accept the hydrant for what it is," Prince said. "It's a piece of equipment that the Jonesboro Fire Department uses in case of a structure fire. Possibly your house or your neighbor's house and we need to be able to get to that hydrant. It does not need to be behind a fence. It does not need to be covered with shrubs. It may be an eyesore to you, but it is a valuable tool to the fire department that could save someone's life."

Prince said to remember someone's business, home or life could be on the line when you are planting things around the hydrant.

Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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