Knowing the Importance of Fire Hydrants

By: Estephany Escobar Email
By: Estephany Escobar Email

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Firefighters work hard to put fires out as quickly as possible, but that can be a challenge when the nearest hydrant is far away or broken.

A fire hydrant is up and running again after a car crashed into it Friday morning, but even a few hours out of commission can make a big difference.

"It takes a little bit longer to lay that hose and charge it with water so it just take a few minutes longer," said Ian Bennett, the Harrisonburg Fire Department's deputy fire chief of operations.

A few minutes longer has the potential to change everything.

"The longer it takes, the more damage it can do," said Bennett.

In downtown Harrisonburg, the loss of one fire hydrant wouldn't affect firefighters as much as in other places.

"In this case, it was in the downtown district. Good water supply, a lot of hydrants, the closest hydrant is a hundred feet away," said Bennett.

Not all areas have that luxury; Bennett said in some rural areas, some fire hydrants can be 1,000 feet from each other.

Blaine Smith lives on Ramblewood Road and has a fire hydrant in front of his house; however, the next one is not visible from his driveway.

"It could take a little longer to bring one from up here on the hill," said Smith. "My biggest concern would be getting my family out, but a lot of damage can happen in a minute."

Firefighters can use a water tanker, if there are multiple fire hydrants out of service or there is a water outage. They feed water from the tanker while they look for the nearest hydrant.

"But I am pretty comfortable that they have what they need to take care of us," said Smith.

So far, no charges have been filed yet against the driver that crashed into the building knocking out the hydrant, according to the Harrisonburg Police Department. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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