Fire department has stern warning for residents opening hydrants to stay cool

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ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Fire Department hopes the summertime tradition of popping open fire hydrants to stay cool comes to an end this year. Captain Garon Mosby said the practice is not only illegal but dangerous.

“Hydrants are for fires, not for fun,” said Mosby.

He said residents looking for a cool blast of water can find a number of misting stations in St. Louis parks.  Pipes are connected to fire hydrants but only access a portion of the available pressure.  The water is typically sprayed in a park which is much safer than water from a hydrant which typically sprays into a street.

“It’s a lot safer.  It’s not in the street. We’re using a fraction of the water and we can still put out fires if indeed they do arise,” said Mosby.

He said firefighters have responded to situations where children have been stuck by cars because they were playing in water from an open hydrant.  Fire hydrants have also been damaged because someone tried to open them.

“It just increases the odds for something to go wrong,” said Mosby.

He said it’s not just illegal to tamper with a fire hydrant but it’s also illegal for parents to let their children play in water from a fire hydrant.

Mosby said he understands how dangerous the heat can be but he just wants to make sure residents understand the potential dangers opening a fire hydrant can cause.