Colorado Firefighters Hunt for Buried Hydrants

Updated: 01-10-2007 09:55:44 AM

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Evergreen firefighters went on a scavenger hunt Tuesday in search of fire hydrants buried by snow that they said pose a danger if fire crews can't find the hydrants when they need them.

There are 741 hydrants in Evergreen and fire crews said many of them are completely covered by snow.

"We rarely have to do a scavenger hunt like this because we rarely have this much snow," said Einar Jensen of Evergreen Fire Department.

Firefighters said the last thing they want to have to do during a fire is dig out a fire hydrant, or search for it in the first place.

"Fires grow exponentially every minute, so not having water to put on the fire can make a huge difference in terms of safety," said Jensen.

So crews went out Tuesday in search of covered hydrants and spent quite some time digging them out.

"It took a few minutes to find it and we knew where this one was," said volunteer firefighter Jay Griggs. "It still took us five or six minutes to find the hydrant and get it to the point where we could actually hook a hose up to it."

"It sounds like a great idea and something I never really thought about," said resident Glenn Mayer. "It's a consequence having all the snow drifted over the corners."

Last week a home was destroyed by fire in Ken Caryl. Fire crews had trouble reaching the home because of the snow.

In Evergreen, firefighters said they aren't taking a chance with hidden hydrants, so they are bringing water with them.

"We're bringing our tankers to those calls even if there are hydrants nearby because they may not be accessible," said Jensen.

Firefighters focused on the high risk areas Tuesday such as commercial zones, schools and senior citizen areas.

They said neighborhoods will be much safer if residents remove the snow from any area fire hydrants as well.

All 90 firefighters in Evergreen, many of them volunteers, took time off from their regular jobs Tuesday to help uncover hydrants.