Buried hydrants one of many issues facing firefighters in the winter

After the weekend's heavy snowfall, the Utica Fire Department patrolled Utica's neighborhoods looking for buried hydrants.

Posted: Jan 20, 2020 6:26 PM
Updated: Jan 20, 2020 6:36 PM

UTICA, N.Y. ---After the weekend's heavy snowfall, the Utica Fire Department patrolled Utica's neighborhoods looking for buried hydrants. 

They invited our camera crew along with them as they found a couple of hydrants that needed digging out. Lieutenant Kit Distefano said that clearing your hydrants could be the difference between life and death.

"That is the main protector of your life and your property. It's very important so we have to take extra time to clear that hydrant out. That's going to affect the amount of time it takes us to get personnel and water on a fire," said Distefano.

There are a total of 1,700 fire hydrants across the city of Utica. After the department responded to the fire on Waverly Place early Saturday morning, two hydrants froze as a result of the cold. However, that's not the only issue facing firefighters this winter.

"The cold takes a toll on everything including our manpower, machines, our rigs, our equipment. Obviously water freezes so that causes a problem with our hoses and our nozzles," said Distefano.

Utica Fire Chief Scott Ingersoll said that the issues are regional. Fire departments in Boonville had to deal with frigid temperatures fighting that block fire in Boonville.

Ingersoll also said that rural area departments sometimes don't have hydrants to work with making local ponds and lakes their primary sources of water. 

Depending on your area, clearing your hydrants are the homeowner's or landlord's responsibility. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

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