Hydrants of concern

CROWNPOINT - Fire hydrants in Crown Point pose a serious risk to firefighters.

That's the assessment of Thomas Hudon, a Crown Point fire commissioner.

"There is a serious issue with the newer hydrant system put in a few years ago," he told the Crown Point town board Feb. 10. "There is excessive pressure. It's dangerous."

He said the system may not have been installed correctly.

"It's up to 135 psi off that system," Hudon said. "A system that size should have 60 to 80 pounds for firefighting operations. You can blow nozzles off."

He said hose lines can become unmanageable.

"The lines can whip. You can be seriously injured," he noted.

Hudon said it was a problem at a garage fire on Sugar Hill last year.

"There's too much flow," he said. "If it had been a larger fire, it would have been a serious issue."

There are also rocks and stones in the system, he said, and those could damage truck pumps.

He said flushing the hydrants would get the stones out, and should be done twice a year.

The town water department should also check to see if any valves in the system are partially closed, Hudon said.

"There needs to be a pressure-reducing valve," he said. "It would probably be the cheapest fix for the high pressure."

In the event of a major fire, Hudon said, firefighters would probably use tanker trucks and not the hydrant system.

"That's a chiefs' decision," he said. "We're not going to endanger our firefighters."

He said safety is the department's number one priority.

Hudon asked Supervisor Bethany Kosmider and the board to treat the issue as a priority. The system was turned on in 2003, he said, and firefighters have been asking for assistance ever since.

"We're looking for action," he said. "We want to hook up the line and fight a fire. We want to do our jobs and not have an issue."

Hudon also noted the hydrant issue could affect homeowners' insurance rates.

Liz Tedford of New York Rural Water Association, who has been reviewing the town water system, said 13 hydrants are non-functional.

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