OPELOUSAS, La. (AP) - More than a quarter of Opelousas' 750 fire
hydrants are in need of repair or replacement, endangering the
city's ability to fight fires.
"Two hundred fire hydrants are inoperable, obsolete or in need
of repairs - most of these can't even be used in case of a fire,"
said City Engineer William Jarrell.
While concerned about the hydrants, Fire Chief Lee Cahanin said
they represent only a part of his department's worries.
"It's not just a hydrant problem. Our system is reaching its
capacity. As the city's domestic use has grown, it has reduced our
fire flow capacity," Cahanin said. "We don't have tankers in our
fleet like rural fire districts. We rely heavily on the water
supply."
Mayor Anna Simmons promises that help is on the way. She is
proposing a multimillion-dollar bond issue to deal with water
issues.
Public Works Director Ron Turner said that, while strained, the
fire system is holding the line.
Whenever two adjacent hydrants are bad, he is using his limited
operating budget to put at least one of them back into service.
That way, firefighters always have a nearby source of water.
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Information from: The Daily World, http://www.dailyworld.com

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)