Hillsborough to inspect every fire hydrant

08/15/07 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

In the past few weeks, it’s been reported that the city of Tampa has failed to test about 70 percent of the city’s more than 11,000 fire hydrants.

City officials now say they will inspect all of those hydrants within the next two months. That news comes after a fire hydrant failed to work for Hillsborough County firefighters last week at a blaze in Northdale.

The home burned down. However, Hillsborough County Fire Chief Bill Nesmith said the faulty hydrant had no impact on firefighters' inability to save the home.

The incident brought back bad memories for County Commissioner Ken Hagen, who said a similar incident with a faulty fire hydrant saw his house go up in flames 30 years ago.

Hagen said he thinks the entire community may face a lack of confidence that any fire hydrants will work when needed.

Paul Vanderbloog, director of the Hillsborough County Water Resource Department, said there was a mechanical failure in front of the home in Northdale.

He also said that the county has used an outside vendor to inspect all of the fire hydrants in the past, but now county workers will begin inspecting each hydrant.

A new hydrant has already been installed at the Northdale location. But the bad one had been inspected in June, and reportedly needed no corrections.

Commissioner Jim Norman said the county should go after the faulty vendor.

The Commission voted to pursue all avenues to punish the vendor, which went unnamed, and to provide as much relief as possible to the owners of the Northdale home.

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