SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – 22News found out during this deep-freeze that a frozen fire hydrant can waste precious time when trying to put out a fire. The City of Springfield owns more than 6,000 hydrants in Springfield and Ludlow, and they are testing them year round to make sure they’re working properly.
A house burned down in Longmeadow last week after firefighters had to scramble to find functioning fire hydrants after two were found frozen on Elmwood Avenue. Longmeadow Fire Chief John Dearborn told 22News there was nothing wrong with the maintenance of the hydrants, but blamed the “rapid onset of the frigid weather.”“Right now for the last couple of weeks, it’s been a severe issue,” Jeff Roberts told 22News. “It’s gonna make it worse. Now if we have some warm up, it will alleviate the issue.”According to a state water system newsletter, in North America, dry barrel hydrants are the most common, because they are built to drain water, and will better prevent freezing in colder climates.
The Springfield Water Department said they test the thousands of hydrants in Springfield and Ludlow every two years, with hydrants being tested year round.“In general a hydrants age will be the determinant. If the hydrant is going to freeze, it’s probably because it’s very old and it’s not draining properly,” Jaimye Bartak. “In the heat of an emergency, you won’t know if a hydrant is frozen, so that’s why it’s really important that we stay on top of our inspections.”Springfield Water and Sewer replaced around 780 hydrants in 2016 alone.