Vandalized hydrants make putting out KCMO house fire difficult, firefighters say

Home had been boarded up by city
Vandalized hydrants hinder firefighters' efforts
Posted at 7:11 AM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 18:23:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A fire burned through an empty house near 30th and Chelsea Avenue Thursday morning but crews weren’t able to use the fire hydrants because someone vandalized them.

Three fire hydrants along the street were missing pieces causing firefighters to change their tactics in combating the fire.

“It’s real dangerous,” said Leo Swopes watching from next door. “And then they had to wait like about 10 minutes before they could start putting the fire out because none of the fire hydrants would work.”

One of the hydrants was still completely smashed apart and water was still streaming out of it. It’s a problem Swopes has seen for at least the past month, “I think it’s sort of sad because those hydrants have been out for about as long as I’ve been out here which is about four weeks.”

According to KCFD Deputy Chief Jimmy Walker, they checked these hydrants on May 17 of this year and they were working. Of the 25,000 fire hydrants in the city, about 3 percent are not in working order.

Walker said the department was not aware the hydrants were vandalized and learned the hard way this morning. Hours after crews wrapped up, the hydrants were fixed. The hydrants are checked once a year.

If you see a broken or vandalized hydrant you are urged to call the 311 hotline and someone will get it fixed.