Garden City Park Water District: Hydrant experienced 'unpredictable mechanical issue' during Herricks fatal fire

The use of the two hydrants near a downed power line would have created an immediate risk and danger to firefighters and residents, according to the water district.

Kevin Vesey

May 25, 2023, 7:19 PM

Updated 332 days ago

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The Garden City Park Water District says two hydrants closest to the site of a fatal fire in Herricks on Tuesday could not be utilized.
The district now says live power cables blocked the roadway and entrance to the homes. The use of the two hydrants near the downed power line would have created an immediate risk and danger to firefighters and residents, according to the water district.
The statement went on to say that the next closest hydrant, which was around 750 feet away, "experienced an unpredictable mechanical issue during the operation."
Other trucks were later able to get water from the closer fire hydrants.
"The Garden City Park Water and Fire District is committed to the highest standards of safety, and we place the utmost importance in maintaining and testing our hydrants to ensure a sufficient water supply is available to fight fires and address emergency situations," the statement said.
The superintendent of the Garden City Park Water District said in a contradicting statement Wednesday to News 12, "Two hydrants closest to the incident were operational and in use and were utilized during the incident."
That statement made no mention of any third hydrant.
The fire claimed the life of a 60-year-old woman inside the home. Family members had complained that it took too long to get water on the flames.
Neighbors say the hydrant should have been working.
"That's something they should check up on," one resident said. "You never know when you need it, and it can save a life."
The water district says the hydrant that malfunctioned was last inspected on Oct. 26, 2022 and was operational at that time. That hydrant has since been replaced.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, hydrants need to be inspected at least once every five years.
Nassau County Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro says the cause of the fire is still being looked at, but it does not appear to be suspicious.


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