I was driving to a routine appointment in Utica and was driving though New Hartford on Route 5 on Saturday morning. My oldest daughter was in the front seat and she said "Oh I thought that was a funnel cloud, what is it?" I turned to look quick and noticed an extremely high stack of smoke very, very large and equally large flames on the outside of it. I could only glance quickly as I was driving. As i was starting to focus on the road again I notice the hooking-ladder fire truck parked in the driveway in front of McDonald's. The fire fighters - several - were frantically trying to uncover and shovel out that fire hydrant so they could run the hose to the house behind the eatery.
I won't forget that sight. Even though I was in the car and moving I could tell by their frantic movements how desperate this situation was. Seeing all of this immediately made me start crying. I didn't know if anyone was hurt or worse, but just the thought of this whole situation made me very emotional. The thought of those firefighters trying to do their job and they couldn't properly because they couldn't access the resources they needed. The thought of the family that lost their home. It was terrible.
Later that day I found out that a 3 year old boy and his 7 year old brother and another 21 year old female lost their lives that day. They had their whole lives ahead of them. Such a tragedy.
I can't help but wonder and think...had the firemen been able to access that hydrant right away could they have been saved? I don't know, but let's turn this tragedy into something positive.
So now I want to ask everyone....please uncover - shovel out a hydrant.
Most people have the mentality, no matter what it is we talk about, "it won't happen to me". Well I hope you are right, but maybe it will happen to your neighbor.
Others think..that's the towns job. Well maybe they forgot one or maybe the man or woman whose job it was to shovel out that hydrant hurt his back and couldn't come to work that day.
My friend read my post on the social media site. She thought it was the town's job, she went out to check hers and it was completely covered with snow. She shoveled it out and thanked me.
I drove around my local area and Madison and Oneida are pretty good. In fact I saw a city worker shoveling one out in the City of Oneida Friday. They should be at least shoveled so all the valves are exposed.
Its hard to tell if you don't know for sure where one is located. In commercial areas, they are usually every 500 to 1000 feet, close to street corners. Sometimes a flag is put on the top to identify where they are when it snows. Call your fire department or village, city or town to find out.
I drove through the Village of Waterville on Sunday and it didn't appear there are any on Main street. There are several businesses, several of which do deep frying (fire hazard) and apartments on this road. I find it hard to believe there are no hydrants. I am calling the town today to ask.
So please, I beg you, I know its cold and windy today...but PLEASE shovel out A Hydrant...It could save lives.
Even if it is not yours...maybe you will save someone else's life.
If you can't shovel call the town or village or city..or a neighbor...
Thank you and please read my prior blogs on fire prevention as well.