Weslaco Resident Questions Bagged Fire Hydrants
WESLACO - The Weslaco Fire and Public Works departments said they are trying to fix non-working fire hydrants in the city.
Weslaco Fire Chief Antonio Lopez said the department inspects the hydrants annually for items like water pressure, loose bolts and knobs that don’t easily rotate.
Lopez said it usually takes about three to four months to inspect all 2,000 hydrants in the city.
“The fire crew finds that one of the fire hydrants is not up to par to the standard that we need them to fight fires. It is logged down, and a work order is put into our public works department. And that’s a way of identifying which are the ones that get fixed,” he said.
A hydrant outside Weslaco resident Mike Hinojosa’s house was flagged for repairs. The Public Works Department said they are still looking to put it back in service.
“It makes everybody around here kind of worried about that… It makes you feel very insecure when you go to sleep because you never know what’s going to happen,” he said.
Hinojosa said they’ve gone more than three decades without a fire in his neighborhood. However, he said it doesn’t mean the community is free of potential danger.
“It could be an electrical fire. It could be an accident. There was an accident this way over here and it could happen. So, it’s essential to have a fire hydrant,” he said.
Lopez said some fire hydrants are out of service for good with no water flowing through pipes. He added other hydrants could serve as backup in case of a fire.
“The good thing is that here, in the city of Weslaco, if we have hydrant A giving us issues, and is not flowing the correct way or we have damage to that hydrant, the city of Weslaco has another fire hydrant 500 feet away,” he said.
The distances increase as people make their way to rural areas of the city, according to the fire chief. Lopez explained that’s when fire trucks, tankers and assistance from surrounding cities come into play.
Weslaco Public Works Department said they’ve replaced 25 hydrants in the city so far. They place bags over the hydrants as a deterrent. In case of a fire, it signals crews to not connect their lines to the hydrant.
The city’s fire department also has a method to know the pressure in every fire hydrant in Weslaco. The color system helps first responders identify how much water they can expect to flow out of the hydrants:
- A light blue cap indicates water will flow at 1,500 Gallons per Minute
- A green cap hydrant flows between 1,000 to 1,499 GPM
- An orange cap hydrant flows between 500 to 999 GPM
- A red cap hydrant flows less than 500 GPM
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