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The vulnerability of San Diego's fire hydrants

June 18 incident in University City the eighth in last 12 months

The University City hydrant was "ripped from the ground, and water spewed approximately 40 feet into the air."
The University City hydrant was "ripped from the ground, and water spewed approximately 40 feet into the air."

San Diego fire hydrants have been reportedly getting hit or stolen in the last few weeks.

On June 18, a semi-truck driver hit a fire hydrant just east of the UTC Mall, and more than a week earlier, a golf cart smashed into a fire hydrant at Eastlake in Chula Vista. Across the border, thieves hit fire hydrants differently.

While the city of San Diego does not mention prices on the heavy-duty cast iron hydrants, Angi.com estimates they cost between $3,000 and $6,000 with installation—an average of $4,500 per unit.

The latest reported June 18 fire hydrant accident was the eighth reported hit and the second accident involving a semi-truck in the last year alone. That Tuesday, a male delivery driver of a semi-truck hauling a trailer attempted to turn into a University City parking lot. The trailer hit a yellow-colored fire hydrant, and it was "ripped from the ground, and water spewed approximately 40 feet into the air," said 911 Video News.

Kensington in December. "I had to go the wrong way down our street and then get on the 15."


Firefighters came to slow down the water and stop the geyser, but they couldn't entirely shut off the water valve, according to the report. While the city public works office was informed, the water was still coming out of the hydrant after an hour; several nearby businesses lost their water supply.

Fire hydrants, like the one knocked over, can put out between 500 and 2000 gallons of water per minute.

On June 10, 619 News Media posted a video of a hydrant knocked over by a golf cart in Eastlake near North Greensview and Clubhouse Drive.

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In March, a driver hit a fire hydrant by Manzanita Canyon in City Heights and took off, according to 911 Video News. The water was shooting about 70 feet into the air.

Back in December, in Kensington, off the 15 between Adams Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard, someone hit a fire hydrant. A Tarah on NextDoor said she was trying to pick up her daughter from school, but the police officers blocked off the streets while the water gushed in the air for 40 minutes. "I had to go the wrong way down our street and then get on the 15," Tarah explained. "It looked like a waterfall flowing over the ramp into the [free]way."

Around the same time, a College Area neighbor saw a contractor smash a hydrant by his house and take off.

A misdemeanor hit-and-run involving injury to property, including a fire hydrant, has "consequences for conviction of misdemeanor hit-and-run," reads an excerpt on the www.gunsberglaw.com site. Punishment includes "a maximum of 6 months in county jail, three years informal probation, up to $1,000 in fines plus court penalties, restitution (compensation) to any victims whose property you damaged, and two points on your driver’s license."

Some folks who take off after running over a hydrant and causing a considerable geyser don't want to be held liable for the water damage to the property.

Last September, in Ocean Beach, 619 News Media caught video of a fire hydrant that was clipped, sending water 40-50 feet in the air. The driver took off, and the water reportedly damaged the adjacent ABC Liquor building, which had businesses on the ground level and apartments on the second floor, displacing the residents and business owners.  

The month before, 619 News Media was almost first on the scene when a silver sedan crashed into a hydrant in the Grantville neighborhood. The driver took off, and the nearby Starbucks closed its drive-thru because of the water.

In July last year, 911 Video News depicted a semi-truck and trailer after it hit a fire hydrant across the street from the Fashion Valley Mall.

In related news, thieves across the border have been stealing and damaging fire hydrants for the last 15 years to sell them to scrap metal yards, said the fire director, Rafael Carrillo Venegas, in an El Mexicano article in November. "Of the approximate 4,300 hydrants in the city, only 26 percent are useful."


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The University City hydrant was "ripped from the ground, and water spewed approximately 40 feet into the air."
The University City hydrant was "ripped from the ground, and water spewed approximately 40 feet into the air."

San Diego fire hydrants have been reportedly getting hit or stolen in the last few weeks.

On June 18, a semi-truck driver hit a fire hydrant just east of the UTC Mall, and more than a week earlier, a golf cart smashed into a fire hydrant at Eastlake in Chula Vista. Across the border, thieves hit fire hydrants differently.

While the city of San Diego does not mention prices on the heavy-duty cast iron hydrants, Angi.com estimates they cost between $3,000 and $6,000 with installation—an average of $4,500 per unit.

The latest reported June 18 fire hydrant accident was the eighth reported hit and the second accident involving a semi-truck in the last year alone. That Tuesday, a male delivery driver of a semi-truck hauling a trailer attempted to turn into a University City parking lot. The trailer hit a yellow-colored fire hydrant, and it was "ripped from the ground, and water spewed approximately 40 feet into the air," said 911 Video News.

Kensington in December. "I had to go the wrong way down our street and then get on the 15."


Firefighters came to slow down the water and stop the geyser, but they couldn't entirely shut off the water valve, according to the report. While the city public works office was informed, the water was still coming out of the hydrant after an hour; several nearby businesses lost their water supply.

Fire hydrants, like the one knocked over, can put out between 500 and 2000 gallons of water per minute.

On June 10, 619 News Media posted a video of a hydrant knocked over by a golf cart in Eastlake near North Greensview and Clubhouse Drive.

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In March, a driver hit a fire hydrant by Manzanita Canyon in City Heights and took off, according to 911 Video News. The water was shooting about 70 feet into the air.

Back in December, in Kensington, off the 15 between Adams Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard, someone hit a fire hydrant. A Tarah on NextDoor said she was trying to pick up her daughter from school, but the police officers blocked off the streets while the water gushed in the air for 40 minutes. "I had to go the wrong way down our street and then get on the 15," Tarah explained. "It looked like a waterfall flowing over the ramp into the [free]way."

Around the same time, a College Area neighbor saw a contractor smash a hydrant by his house and take off.

A misdemeanor hit-and-run involving injury to property, including a fire hydrant, has "consequences for conviction of misdemeanor hit-and-run," reads an excerpt on the www.gunsberglaw.com site. Punishment includes "a maximum of 6 months in county jail, three years informal probation, up to $1,000 in fines plus court penalties, restitution (compensation) to any victims whose property you damaged, and two points on your driver’s license."

Some folks who take off after running over a hydrant and causing a considerable geyser don't want to be held liable for the water damage to the property.

Last September, in Ocean Beach, 619 News Media caught video of a fire hydrant that was clipped, sending water 40-50 feet in the air. The driver took off, and the water reportedly damaged the adjacent ABC Liquor building, which had businesses on the ground level and apartments on the second floor, displacing the residents and business owners.  

The month before, 619 News Media was almost first on the scene when a silver sedan crashed into a hydrant in the Grantville neighborhood. The driver took off, and the nearby Starbucks closed its drive-thru because of the water.

In July last year, 911 Video News depicted a semi-truck and trailer after it hit a fire hydrant across the street from the Fashion Valley Mall.

In related news, thieves across the border have been stealing and damaging fire hydrants for the last 15 years to sell them to scrap metal yards, said the fire director, Rafael Carrillo Venegas, in an El Mexicano article in November. "Of the approximate 4,300 hydrants in the city, only 26 percent are useful."


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