September 1, 2008

Warning to Fire Hydrant Vandals Officials Say Someone Could Be Killed As More Than 50 Are Set Off in City


VANDALS who set off fire hydrants across Glasgow have been warned they are putting lives at risk.

More than 50 hydrants in the city had to be turned off by Scottish Water since Tuesday afternoon after this week's warm, sunny weather .

Neighbourhoods affected include the Gorbals, Drumchapel, Easterhouse, Springburn, Dennistoun, Barlanark, Summerston, Dalmarnock, Bridgeton, Govanhill, Castlemilk, Ibrox, Pollokshields, Rutherglen and Penilee.

The incidents caused disruption to the water supply of several thousand homes and some were left without water or suffered reduced water pressure for several hours.

The warm weather is to continue today with temperatures rocketing to 24C (75C). But Scottish Water, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue and Strathclyde Police have appealed to vandals to stop endangering lives by setting off hydrants.

Jim Hassan, Scottish Water's regional manager, said: "This thoughtless vandalism has caused major inconvenience to many of our customers.

"The number of incidents in the Glasgow area meant we had to bring in extra resources to combat the problem and this meant our ability to tackle any other water-related issues would have been hampered.

"In addition to it affecting the water supply, fire hydrant vandalism can cause road flooding and affect road traffic. There is a danger that youngsters setting off high-powered hydrants or passing pedestrians or motorists could be injured or killed."

The Evening Times last summer mounted a campaign against hydrant vandalism.

Water staff are often prevented from turning off hydrants because they are targeted at the scene. Charlie McGrattan, of Strathclyde Fire & Rescue, said: "We all enjoy sunny weather, but the opening of hydrants is not fun, it is a criminal offence.

"Reduced water pressure seriously hampers the ability of fi refighters to tackle fires. It also leads to hundreds of households going without water - a serious matter if you are elderly or have a young baby."

Chief Inspector Brian Connel, of Strathclyde Police, said: "Whilst children may view splashing about in a fountain of water as great fun they often do not realise the impact this can have on the ability to fight fires."

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

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