Indianapolis Hydrants Are Freezing Up Already

INDIANAPOLIS --

Firefighters hope more snow and colder temperatures wont cause more frozen fire hydrants around Indianapolis.

Officials said frozen hydrants have been a problem for the city in recent years, but inspectors said theyre committed to keep hydrants working this winter.

Firefighters said the problem begins when the hydrants arent properly plugged, and getting them unthawed can tick away crucial minutes when trying to douse a fire.

Citizens Energy Spokesperson Sarah Holsapple said a fire destroyed an east side restaurant last year because firefighters couldn't get the blaze under control due to a frozen hydrant.

"That's the kind of thing we want to prevent of course, Holsapple said.

In Aug. 2011, Citizens Energy took over the city's waste water management including hydrant inspection duties from the smaller company Veolia Water.

Holsapple said efforts are currently under way to plug the hydrant problem.

"We've replaced 100 fire hydrants, which is more than were replaced in all of 2010, she said.

About 37,000 hydrants are in Marion County,

RTV6's Chance Walser reported, and most of the ones that have been replaced have been within the city limits.

The Indianapolis Fire Department said problems with freezing hydrants most commonly occur because of unauthorized use, misuse or faulty equipment.

"We are committed to making sure that the hydrants don't freeze. That said, we know that sometimes they will, and in those cases we work with the fire department, Holsapple said.

Citizens Energy said it has assigned a specific team to inspect hydrants fulltime.

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