A dangerous situation in Howard Beach that existed for months — possibly years — without most residents knowing about it has been rectified.
Several inoperative fire hydrants in Howard Beach, some of which may not have been working since Hurricane Sandy, have finally been fixed.
At least four hydrants in the neighborhood had a white circle around the connector on their sides, an indication that they were not working. The hydrants were located on 157th Avenue between 86th and 87th streets and between 100th and 101st streets, on 101st Street between 158th and 159th avenues and on 158th Avenue between 100th and 101st streets. The latter one was of special concern because it is in front of the Ave Maria Catholic Academy school building.
Residents reported the broken hydrants to state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), who immediately wrote to Emily Lloyd, the commissioner of the city Department of Environmental Protection, asking her to investigate the problem and fix the broken hydrants.
“It is a major concern when a fire hydrant at any location is not working, but particularly the two hydrants located on the block of Ave Maria Catholic Academy,” Addabbo said in a letter to Lloyd on July 8. “It is important that these fire hydrants remain functional in the event of an emergency.”
Though no recent fatal fires in New York City have been blamed on faulty hydrants, fatal blazes in Detroit and Philadelphia have been blamed on slow response stemming from hydrant problems.
Though their primary use is by the FDNY to fight fires, and New York’s Bravest note problems with the devices, the hydrants are under the authority of the DEP.
The agency responded to Addabbo, saying that they were never notified of the broken hydrants by the FDNY.
The agency’s Water Maintenance sector responded and fixed the problem hydrants last week. Now, the white circles that indicated a malfunction have been removed and the hydrants are in working order again.
The DEP did not say how long the hydrants have been out of service, though Addabbo said it’s possible some, if not all, of them may have been broken since Hurricane Sandy nearly two years ago. Many of the neighborhood’s hydrants were completely submerged by the storm surge.