Private fire hydrants studied after homeowners' concern

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Some Craig City Council members were surprised to learn the city contains many fire hydrants that are privately owned, some of which have questionable firefighting capabilities.

Tony St. John with the Country Club Heights homeowners association asked the council if the city would assume responsibility for the two hydrants owned by the association and perform needed maintenance on them.

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"We would like the city to just take these hydrants," he said. "We're not in the firefighting business and don't know anything about them."

When a contractor built three buildings on Country Club Drive in 1981, he saved money by installing water lines instead of having the city connect the subdivision. Throughout the years, the hydrants have fallen into disrepair, and began leaking water. Today, they are covered with a bag, as a way to warn the fire department of their inoperability.

"Any fire hydrant in the city that is not working is a huge problem," Councilman Byron Willems said. "I recommend we deal with that immediately, with a sense of urgency."

City Manager Jim Ferree pointed out to the council that most areas involved in this case are reachable from city hydrants with the 1,000 feet of hose carried on fire trucks.

Mayor Don Jones said this was not the only area that should be of concern to council.

"Cedar Mountain Village, (Moffat County) High School, Columbine Apartments, they all have their own hydrants," Jones said.

Councilman and Craig Fire/Rescue Deputy Chief Bill Johnston suggested the homeowners association take immediate action on the fire hydrants.

"We suggest you make them work or take them off so there is no confusion," he said.

The council is taking the proposal under consideration while more information is gathered as to cost estimates to replace water lines and hydrants, and maps can be created showing the extent of private water lines in the city.

A work session on the hydrant issue is planned for 6 p.m. prior to the July 10 council meeting at City Hall, 300 W. Fourth St.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com

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