Out-of-Service Fire Hydrants in Weslaco Still in Need of Repairs
WESLACO – In a bustling Weslaco neighborhood, people rumble by in cars as they grab lunch at a corner restaurant. But there’s one thing not everyone is focused on – fire hydrants.
"It's dangerous, I would imagine they should be working,” said resident Ruth Perron.
Perron lives a block away from an out-of-service fire hydrant on Second Street and Bridge Avenue in Weslaco.
"I've seen them working on them, I thought they were all working,” she said.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS found two out-of-service fire hydrants along Second Street. There is one at Second Street and Bridge Avenue, another at Second and Cannon streets. A third was recently replaced. And we saw a fourth in need of replacement near Texas Boulevard and Expressway 83.
"Our fire crews went out and inspected over 2,000 fire hydrants within the city last year. That takes a long time,” said Weslaco Fire Chief Antonio Lopez.
The massive inspection effort takes months. Lopez said they marked about 25 hydrants as defunct this year.
"You want it to work, you want to make sure all the hydrants are operational,” he said.
Lopez said that task was given to the city's public works department. He said it's their job to fix or replace hydrants.
"We work closely with the fire department to make sure hydrants are up to par," said Public Works Director Pete Garcia Jr.
However, Garcia said the city can only replace one hydrant per month since it costs about $2,000 each.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reported how fire hydrants throughout the city were being flagged for repairs in March. Many still need to be replaced today.
"We have two nearby. So, we can say those citizens are pretty much covered,” Garcia said.
The yellow bag covering these potential life-savers still leaves neighbors uneasy.
"It does worry you in case of an accident,” said resident Maria Jose Garcia.
Lopez said not to worry.
"Typically, if you look within 500 feet of one side or another you'll see a working hydrant,” Lopez said.
He added the fire department has water trucks which can carry 2,000 plus gallons of water.
With an investment of $30,000 this coming fiscal year, he said things may be looking up for these rusty water gateways.
Garcia said the city neglected some maintenance of hydrants and sewage drains in the past. He said that left crews to catch up.
Officials added drivers also contributed to the issues. They said five hydrants were knocked out by drivers this year.
If anyone has any questions or concerns about a fire hydrant in your neighborhood, call public works at 956-973-3146.
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