The neglect and lack of maintenance to fire hydrants at least under the care of Water and Wastewater Authority of Wilson County pose a clear and direct danger to those living around them.
The significance of this danger came to light early Saturday morning when Wilson Emergency Management Agency firefighters arrived to fight a house fire at the corner of Beasley’s Bend and North Dickerson Road to find two hydrants near the home failed to work.
Two things to be thankful for in this particular incident were that no one was in the home at the time the fire started and WEMA firefighters brought their own water.
It’s alarming to think about the outcome had the scenario been different.
But what’s more alarming is the response Chris Leauber, executive director of the Water and Wastewater Authority of Wilson County, gave to the hydrants not available for use.
“We’re not in the fire protection business,” said Leauber. “Our focus is really to provide potable drinking water.”
Leauber also said the presence of a fire hydrant doesn’t mean that it’s capable of providing adequate fire service.
“I think there’s a big misconception that when you have a fire hydrant in your front yard, you have fire protection,” said Leauber.
It certainly takes away from the notion of safety first and piece of mind in the event of a fire. It also raises questions regarding the accuracy of insurance rates and just how many hydrants actually work.
There were five hydrants within one mile of Saturday’s house fire. We know two didn’t work, two went untested and the fifth supplied water as expected.
The fact is, when dealing with catastrophes like fires, there will always be the unexpected, however, getting water is the expected outcome when firefighters hook to a hydrant...any hydrant.
There’s really no excuse to add another variable in the long list of what could go wrong when dealing with a fire.
It’s almost like wondering whether weather sirens will go off in the event of a tornado.
We urge those at Water and Wastewater Authority of Wilson County to begin a thorough check of hydrants in its district. It’s piece of mind where no one can place a price tag.