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Retired firefighter concerned over broken fire hydrants in Lake Worth

Posted: 5:26 PM, Aug 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-17 22:32:49Z

LAKE WORTH, Fla. -- Steve Carr takes extreme pride in his community and has called Lake Osborne Estates home his entire life, but now he feels his family and neighbors are living in danger.

"Nothing is more important than time in a fire situation, nothing," said Carr, who is a retired firefighter.

For at least two years, Carr says he has been complaining to the city of Lake Worth about the fire hydrant across the street from his home not working. Now, it is covered with an orange bag with the words, “Not In Service.”

"Without a working fire hydrant, it's putting us in jeopardy in terms of how fast the fire department and emergency crews can enter a building and make a rescue," Carr said.

WPTV has learned at least three more hydrants in the neighborhood also do not work.

Kimberly Odenbreit has lived in the area for 30 years.

"It's scary because the fire hydrant is right across the street and I had no idea it didn't work," Odenbreit said.

City officials said there are about 20 other working hydrants in the neighborhood, but they recently became aware of the problem during a routine flushing.

The hydrants date back to the 1950s, and some are leaking. City officials said as part of a settlement, the city recently has taken over the distribution map. Now, officials say they are working to replace the broken hydrants in the coming days.

Carr wants to be assured the problem will be fixed before it’s too late.

"It's not a crack in the sidewalk or a pothole in the road, this is a matter of life and death," he said.

According to Ben Kerr, spokesman for the city, the hydrants are also sitting on asbestos pipes. Crews are working to replace the old piping, but Carr fears the asbestos could end up in the water and the problem is bigger than the city.

Kerr said there is no danger, and was hopeful the problem will be fixed soon.