Firefighters Urge Homeowners Dig Out Hydrants

By Ron Sanders, WBZ-TV

BEVERLY (CBS) — Beverly firefighters said fire hydrants buried in snow banks delayed their fight with a three-alarm fire in a three-story duplex on Bennett Street Tuesday.

Off-duty Beverly firefighter and E-M-T Scott Steeves was passing by on his way home from his shift. He said he called it in, then he and a neighbor went to the second floor to get a man out of his bedroom.

“I could hear the fire crackling above me in the attic space. We kind of forcibly had to suggest to him he had to leave the house,” said Steeves.

WBZ-TV’s Ron Sanders reports.

Then as fire companies arrived, they said they found two of the three hydrants they needed buried in snow banks. “We end up losing five minutes or so just trying to find the hydrants and dig them out and those initial few minutes when we get to a fire scene are crucial for us,” explained Lt. Donald Philpot.

Scott Steeves said he dug out about 40 hydrants after last week’s major storm. Beverly has about 1,600 hydrants. Some remain partly visible, some are completely buried. So Beverly firefighters use a metal detector to find them.

Beverly firefighters say they’re able to dig out several hydrants, but some of them get buried again by snow plows. They ask for the public’s help.

“If you have a hydrant near your house, it only makes sense that you would want to have that dug out. You’re helping yourself, you’re helping your neighbors and you’re helping us,” said Lt. Philpot.

The City of Boston has more than 13,000 fire hydrants. Firefighters, armed with maps, shovel them out between calls but the city’s web site includes shoveling out hydrants on your street in its list of snow removal regulations.


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