Crews Need Police Escort To Shut Off Fire Hydrants

CHICAGO (CBS) — City crews scrambling to turn off nearly 2,000 fire hydrants opened by residents seeking relief from the heat required a police escort to protect them from gang members and others upset with the shutdowns.

CBS 2 found one city crew being followed by a police sport-utility vehicle as they crisscrossed neighborhoods, turning off a total of 1,921 hydrants as of Thursday evening.

“It’s a waste of water, and I have to do my job,” said 20-year Water Management Department veteran Richard Quarles.

Quarles was surrounded by a group of people who dumped water on him as he shut down a hydrant that was spewing hundreds of gallons of water into the street.

“The gangbangers and the neighborhood tough guys, they could crack you over the head with something. Anything can happen,” he said.

City officials warned residents that turning on hydrants is a safety problem. Cars have a hard time seeing kids playing under the water in the street.

The open hydrants call also flood basements, parked cars and significantly lower water pressure, which could hamper firefighters.

“Don’t open a fire hydrant to stay cool,” said Gary Schenkel, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel Reports

But that message is lost on many children who play in the spray of water from open hydrants to keep cool and to some adults who defend the practice.

“Actually I feel it’s great for the kids stop, man, to some of the killing; stop all the negative behavior that’s going on out here,” South Side resident Patrick Strange said.

  • chicago62

    Hey POTHEAD, go smoke your pipe and STOP TYPING your STUPID comments..


      What? All I said that it was a waste of city water. Take it easy.

  • Jerry O Henderson

    I thought the city,was attaching special locks, to prevent you from opening the hydrants a few years ago.Perhaps my statement is incorrect?

    • Jesse

      Darrell, consider me a fan.

    • pocketpal

      stop trying to use BIG words and phrases like your brother tries to use when he deals in dope.

    • jerry

      Did you fall on your head as a child?

    • STRETCH7

      Some hydrants have the locks, others don’t. I saw some meathead using a pipe wrench to turn one on.
      I called the police with a description.

      • Daniel Gorski

        Black with pants on the ground?

      • vette66

        Dan, you forgot to add with multicolor swim trunks under the pants showing.

    • rt9278

      jeez Darrell… what is your problem? That was an honest and legitimate question. You seem to have read into something that was not there. I have to also ask about the dropping on the head thing too… What a pretentious jerk.

    • StaticKlingon

      Please put your other brother Darrel in front of the computer.

    • Mike

      You must get so much a$$, Darrell.

    • rufus levin

      neighborhood kids that can pick locks were taught by neighborhood criminals playing at parents but mostly just making babies.

      hey…it’s a BLACK society in New York Thing…just accept it….childhood is merely pre-prison time.

    • 51Phantom

      Cracker, Please.

    • Nevada Lee


      My heart does skip a beat reading your well written and humerous comment.

  • ann

    For someone who takes offense to it being called a “Black Thing”, you sure make use of the stereotypes yourself. You assume that they have no money for AC because it goes to drugs?
    Yes, it is a Class issue. You, however, have none.

    • Mitch

      STFU Ann!, ucity88 make a valid point. Why don’t you stupid white libs crawl back into your hole.

  • Street Swimmer

    I lived in the city as a kid and we would play in the open hydrant on extremely hot days. It was so much fun. My mom would make me fill a couple of pots of water so she could make dinner as there was ZERO water pressure inside the house. I don’t remember who opened the hydrant. A fire was the last thing on our minds. I never thought of that possibility. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the smartest neighborhood decision.

    • Mikey

      Ummm. You do realize that water from a hydrant is not potable right?

      • Sgt_R_USMC

        I would think it would be after boiling…

      • TyroneJ

        The fire hydrants draw their water form the same mains as the houses and businesses. However, the houses and businesses are required to have a “backflow preventer” in their line to prevent anything bad that gets into the building piping system from contaminating the mains. A “backflow preventer” is basically a one-way valve. Water can only flow away form the mains towards the house, not towards the mains. So the building codes require water that that is not passing through a “backflow preventer” to be considered non-pottable.

      • Truck6C

        It is true that in most neighborhoods the water from a fire hydrant is the same domestic water for the homes. But there are differences that I would take note. I was a Fire Captain for 35+ years and had to know our water system. Even though the water comes from the same water main, the water in the hydrant system stays pressurized in the pipe leading to the hydrant. If a hydrant is a wet or dry barrel type defines if the water is pressurized to the top of the hydrant. All that water stays in that pipe without circulation. This leads to rust staying in the water. Hence you will see the first water coming from a hydrant being an orange or brown color. I would not drink it. If I HAD to drink it, I would wait until the pipe had been flowing for a long time. Traditionally we rarely would drink from the hose. The fire pump can get quite dirty too. But we would cool ourselves after a fire. The biggest danger for non-firefighters using the hydrant is improper opening of the valve. There is a weep valve 8′ down from the top of the hydrant. Improper opening allows for that valve to undermine the pipes, sidewalk, and streets. And it is very expensive to fix. Stay cool.

      • Ernaldo T

        You might want to explain what potable means, he could be afro….

      • Jimmy Jones

        The water just sits in those lines for months at a time unless there is a fire, the hydrants are bleed or the local idiots open it. Do you want to drink water that sits there and grows all kind of nasty things in it?

      • contrarian

        I did not know that. Interesting. I wonder what source the hydrants draw from, if not the municipal water system?

      • xdream

        I suppose you are suffering from a delusion that the water mains that supply the fire hydrants are different from the ones that supply your tap water…

      • dad

        That’s weird. I wonder what they do to the water to make it non-potable, because the hydrants are on the same lines as domestic water feeds.

      • Al of GA

        Hydrant water almost always comes from the same piping that feeds homes with drinking water. It is rare to have an exception. I know because I am a fire protection engineer who has been in that business for 39 years. Exceptions include private fire protection systems and special cases for county systems, such as raw water sourced systems that are feeding treatment plants or, sometimes, special purpose irrigation systems.

      • STRETCH7

        In Chicago tap water and water from the hydrants come from the same source. Why else would an open hydrant cut the water pressure in residents homes?

      • shawnclark976

        no its the same water that comes out of a tap, we can make the argument most tap water isn’t potable LOL. i filter all mine before drinking dont trust the city to do it, dont want fluoride and who knows what else in it but its from the same lines.

      • Mike Dedic

        idiot! it is potable! she just said she filled some pots and walked them in to her moms! makin it pot-able and port-able

  • Pothead


    • Fed up Taxpayer

      Not having any kids would be a big start!

  • Will kane

    Don’t worry next year Rahm the Savior will have pools in every neighborhood all bought and paid for by stimulus money with big Obama signs.

  • Pothead

    I would never live near you.

  • Jerry O Henderson

    To Jesse Jackson,where in the hell did you go to school?Learn how to spell first of all.It is not effort,the correct spelling is AFFORD,meathead.Evidently you did not take English in school,what”s that?

    • Jonny

      Evidently they didn’t teach punctuation at your school.

  • Davis

    Civilization at its finest.

  • JungleCogs

    you can’t reason with animals.

    • shawnclark976

      true true, i always wonder why every house in the gheto has an 80 inch plasma tv and furniture covered in duct tape… just like the rims thing its about priorities…

    • Lyndia

      If you are referring to blacks as animals, what was your mama? She brought you here and you should have been aborted but animals do not do that.

  • chicagogal

    I am not a yuppie, and I don’t live in any of the above named neighborhoods. It’s about public safety period. Grow up, become a beacon for positive change in your neighborhoods, stop making excuses for everything. We have children of all color and class in my neighborhood, and I’m sick and tired of everyone making excuses for parents who don’t teach their children a better way of life. I was poor, we didn’t have a pool nearby, we weren’t close to the lake, and we didn’t have AC, but we didn’t open hydrants, especially when the fire dept. asked us not to. Sorry if trying to encourage positive citizenship annoys you. I did come from utopia….a 2 parent home that worked, and encourage us to abide by the law. Grow up yuppie hater, classless individual !!

  • Moody

    Jesse Jackson, are you saying that the people opening hydrants and playing in the city street are buying 50K SUVs and Flat Screens? Really? I think you’re a little bit mixed up.

    • Obama Dama Ring Rong

      Fine, stop buying $6,000 rims to put on the $500 old school impala.

    • snickers

      LOL at the rims comment – right on target. And forget the swimming pool, a sprinkler and a hose are real cheap.

    • Regulas

      LOL The rims are stolen.

  • familygal

    No pothead you wouldn’t becuase you probably couldn’t afford the rent after buying your drugs….smoke up loser !!!!!

    • Pothead

      Marijuana will be legal some day soon. Really soon it will be a ticketed offense.
      Go drink yer booze beetch.

    • Mikey

      Snappy comeback familygal. Did you learn that while getting your two college degrees? Or did you buy it with your tons of invested money?

  • contrarian

    I’m 70 and I don’t have a/c, so when it gets really oppressive (as it is here today), I take quick cool-off showers and stand in front of a fan.

    Why don’t parents choose this option instead of teaching kids that stealing is fine? The cost is minimal, and I’m pretty sure most of the folks in these urban areas have running water in their homes.

    • contrarian

      That’s some good parenting, DixT. Well done. Your kids (and their kids) are the “seed corn” this country will need if it is to survive with its principles intact.

  • Obama Dama Ring Rong

    LOSER! I walk 12-15 blocks (say – 1.5 miles) to work EVERY DAY! To and from. You can’t even muster up the energy to walk (waddle?) to the pool?

  • familygal

    I did better myself, 2 college degrees, a job earning great money, tons of it invested. You on the other hand are a loser, and it has nothing to do with the fact you smoke pot and everything to do with the fact that you’re an ignorant racist. Get outta the U.S. we don’t need YOUR kind here idiot !!!!!

  • txlagent

    Amen, ucity88. it isn’t a black thing it is lack of class.

  • Mikey

    Sure familygal, sure. I bet you also married an NFL star and have an IQ of 190.

    While you’re at it you might as well claim to be a supermodel/international spy. Hell it’s the interenet, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!!!

    Meanwhile, you might want to get off your high horse and take the rose colored blinders off your eyes…

    • Terry Furlough

      “I bet you also married an NFL star” NO but he can run from the police like one.. ” and have an IQ of 190.” No that’s the weight of one of her hams/ legs

  • GovernmentOwesMe

    Blame everyone and everything else except yourself. Work hard, better yourself and then you don’t have to steal from the government and could actually pay your own way by buying an air conditioner.

  • Remember when?

    This is a lack of education and respect issue. Not just a race issue. As a kid growing up, I lived in a poor neighborhood and it got hot then too. The differance is, we had a hose and a sprinkler and knew how to use it. Turning on a hydrant would never be allowed by our parents nor our neighbors. Class would prevail. It’s better to sweat than put people’s homes at risk. People need to stop thinking of only themselves first. But I fear in most parts of the city, those days and that way of thinking are gone forever.

    • ucity88


      Seriously! A HOSE and a SPRINKLER!! I forgot they had those crazy inventions available. LOL!


      • vette66

        With a hose and sprinkler you have to pay, well may be pay, for the water. The hydrant water is always free.

  • Singitloudimblackandimproud

    FIRST, DON’T hate on the pothead.

    SECOND, Chicago is the new Detroit

  • Remember when?

    Racial tension? What racial tension?

    • StaticKlingon

      Race ya’ll tension? That’s the nervousness you feel on a Saturday night when you’re grinning at the dude in the other lane and you’re fitzin’ to punch it down when the light turns green.

    • rufus levin

      Who is Rachael Tenshane?

  • Tom Genin

    hey Patrick Strange, so assaulting fireman is great/


  • Obama Dama Ring Rong

    Hope and change that is!

    • shawnclark976

      people like you are stupid beyond belief you can’t blame obama any more for this than i can blame the bush twins… this is stupid people. and until you have scientific pole stating democrats like to stay cool, and republicans hate water your entire post is stupid.

    • Andrew P.

      I don’t like Obama either, but “Obama Dama Ring Rong” makes you look like an idiot.

  • Remember when?

    Accountability… it’s not for everyone!

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