KANSAS CITY, Mo. – City officials are determined to fix hundreds of broken fire hydrants in Kansas City. Some have not worked in years. The city’s water department labels them “Code 3.”
“Code-3 is just totally non-functional, no water at all,” said Bernardo Garcia, director of Kansas City Water Services Department.
“I don’t know why it’s there,” said Jim Sneegas, a homeowner who lives near a broken hydrant at W. 66th Street and Main Street in Brookside. “If it’s there, it seems like it ought to be working. So why not fix it?”
It is on the city’s 16-page to-do list. Right now, 204 fire hydrants, most of them downtown and in midtown, are not working. Some have been labeled Code-3 for several years.
“In terms of fire protection, I want as many working fire hydrants as possible,” Sneegas said. “I don’t want the fire department to be looking around for them.”
“We’re getting a good handle on it,” Garcia said.
Garcia said nearly 500 hydrants were on the list last year. However, then-city manager Wayne Cauthen demanded change.
“They’re a safety hazard,” Garcia said. “You know, if you don’t have a fire hydrant you don’t have fire protection for homes, especially multi-level buildings.”
So, his department is taking inventory, making sure broken hydrants, like the one on 66th street, are close to ones that work.
“Even though that one doesn’t work, I feel confident that if we had an emergency in our neighborhood they could meet our needs,” said Jennifer Lombardi, a homeowner.
Firefighters have not had problems yet, according to spokesman Joe Vitale. City officials plan to keep it that way by fixing what is broken.
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