Miss. Has Hundreds of Faulty Hydrants

JACKSON, Miss. --

Hundreds of fire hydrants in Jackson are deemed faulty, according to city records.

In September, David Hobson's home burned to the ground as neighbors watched. Although firefighters were at the scene, the two fire hydrants they plugged into couldn't produce enough water to fight the blaze.

It's not the first time firefighters have found hydrants that weren't working when they needed them. In October 2007, firefighters plugged into a faulty fire hydrant at the old Woodland Hills Baptist Academy and last year one house burned down in West Jackson.

WAPT filed a Freedom of Information request with the city to find out what the city is doing to fix these faulty fire hydrants.

According to the city fire marshal, the Jackson Fire Department inspected 6,330 fire hydrants this year. They found that 288 hydrants were faulty. Public works crews fixed 28 hydrants and replaced eight others, leaving 252 hydrants still in need of repairs.

Thelman Boyd, director of Public Works, said his department is responsible for fixing problem hydrants but said those which are in need of repair are still capable of producing water.

"Our top priority is an area where a fire hydrant may be inoperable or dry," Boyd said. "We don't have any of those locations. There may be other areas where there are some pressure problems. As far as we know now, there should be pressure to all fire hydrants."

Boyd said the faulty fire hydrants are spread out over Jackson and that the city is using GPS technology to get a better map of where all the hydrants are located.

Hobson, who is blind and is using the insurance money to renovate another home, said he wished the hydrants had been inspected long before.

"The situation would have been different because I would have a house or a part of a house," he said. "It would have been different."

Residents who are concerned about fire hydrants in their neighborhood may call the mayor's action line at 601-960-1111.

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