Fire Hydrants in Weslaco Undergo Yearly Inspection

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WESLACO – The Weslaco Fire Department said they are checking the more than 2,000 fire hydrants in the city to better protect citizens.

Resident Mary Lue Gonzalez moved to Weslaco 15 years ago. She, her 4 daughters and mother packed their bags and drove down from Kansas.

Now a grandmother, she said keeping her family safe is her top priority. She said anytime she sees a hydrant in less than tip-top shape it’s a cause for concern.

“I’ve seen some that are overflowing. So I don’t know if they were in good conditions or not,” Gonzalez told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Weslaco Fire Chief Antonio Lopez said his department does a yearly inspection of every fire hydrant in the city beginning in October. It’s a requirement that the department operates to stay in compliance with the Insurance Services’ Office.

He told CHANNEL 5 NEWS the department is looking to see which hydrants will fail in cases of emergencies.

“When they are checking the hydrants, one of the things that they are looking at is the seized caps. Are they able to remove the caps in emergency settings? Are they able to flow water? Is there anything wrong with the valve in the ground? Is the hydrant leaking water?” Weslaco Fire Chief Antonio Lopez explained.

Lopez said it cost the city approximately $3,500 to replace a hydrant. He added on average, the city has to replace or repair about 25 hydrants a year.

He explained without the yearly checkup that number would increase.

“A hydrant can last for years if it is well maintained, if it’s checked regularly and if it’s operated. A hydrant that’s lost and forgotten and hasn’t been opened for ten years, that hydrant is going to fail on you,” Lopez said.

He also explained the Insurance Services’ Office audits each fire department in the nation every several years. The ISO rates each department on fire service.

He explained continuing to evaluate the hydrates is a part of receiving a higher rating.

Lopez said the higher the rating the department receives the more insurance breaks citizens will receive.

He said if you see a hydrant wrapped in plastic, it means that hydrant is scheduled to be replaced.

Lopez added there is no reason to worry since the city has hydrants every 500 ft.

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