A hot issue surrounding potentially defunct fire hydrants in Windsor took a major step forward Monday in a formal resolution officials said should ease residents’ fears for years to come.
The town board unanimously approved an agreement between Windsor Severance Fire Rescue and the Town of Windsor that outlines specifically how the two groups can partner together to test, maintain and use fire hydrants and even how to ensure the community can stay informed about what type of hydrant may be sitting near a home.
There are three different types in town, and each requires a delicate balance of oil and pressure, said Terry Walker, director of public works. Crews may already know how to use a hydrant, but now they’ll know the ins and outs of upkeep and what types of resources will be available when arriving to a fully involved structure fire.
“This is to help assure the safety and welfare of the citizens within the town of Windsor,” Walker said of the agreement.
Since a Windsor home burned to the ground June 20 as crews struggled to pull water from stuck hydrant steamer caps, the fire department has been reaching out to each of the four water districts that serve the area — Little Thompson, North Weld County, Fort Collins-Loveland and the Town of Windsor. Though nobody was injured in that fire, the house was a total loss with damages totaling about $302,000.
Those frustrations were especially compounded because a similar instance involving malfunctioning, untagged hydrants in May, 2012 near the same community within the North Weld County Water District.
The deal approved on Monday addresses the 800 hydrants within Windsor boundaries, and fire officials are still working out the details with neighboring districts.
Windsor Severance Fire Rescue has also taken the lead in doing inspections on hydrants outside of town limits, even without formalized agreements, to ensure they have properly functioning equipment, Fire Chief Herb Brady explained.
“We’ll use this as an example,” he said of the agreement, adding that they will may go even further and give individual hydrant specifics including flow rates and inspection dates on dog tag-type cards on hydrants across the community.
Both Brady and Mayor John Vazquez said keeping records on hydrants like on fire extinguishers would help ensure transparency and ease concerns across the community.
“I think this is a good example of a cooperative arrangement that doesn’t ask too much of either side but gets the job done,” said Town Attorney Ian McCargar.