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GLAD YOU ASKED: Who is responsible for fire hydrant care?

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GLAD YOU ASKED: Who is responsible for fire hydrant care?
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Q. Who is responsible for maintaining the visibility of fire hydrants? Is it the city, landowner or the fire department? There is one on North Ohlman Street between Eighth Avenue and 23rd Avenue. It is so buried by tall weeds that you can barely see the indicator stick on the hydrant. It is on the east side of the street across from trees that have been cut down. If there were a fire at the grain elevator, I would think they would appreciate knowing the fire department could use that hydrant.

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A. Paul Morris, the city of Mitchell's assistant fire chief/EMS, provided the following written response.

"Hydrants that are located in a public right-of-way or on city property are ultimately the responsibility of the city. Hydrants that are located on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.

"Fire department employees flush city hydrants every spring, while water department employees provide maintenance as needed, and a combination of city employees and volunteers paint hydrants when necessary.

"With the sheer number of hydrants in the city, we count on the public to assist us in helping to ensure that all hydrants are accessible in the event of fire. This includes clearing weeds and snow for a 3-foot radius around the hydrants in your neighborhood and reporting problems when you see them. When we are notified of a hydrant in need of attention, as in this case, we address the problem as soon as possible."

Morris said the hydrant in question is on a public right-of-way, and the fire department planned to address the problem this week. There are about 800 fire hydrants in the city.

-- Have a question? We'll find the answer. Send your question or complaint to Glad You Asked, The Daily Republic, P.O. Box 1288, Mitchell, S.D., 57301, or email it with "Glad You Asked" in the subject line to dailynews@mitchellrepublic.com. Include your name, address and a daytime telephone number, none of which will be published.

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