Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Shawn Jansen
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Improper use of fire hydrants can be dangerous


December 12, 2019

The city of Willow River will be taking steps to prevent unauthorized access to water from fire hydrants. The city council discussed the concerns with the practice at its regular meeting December 2.

Fire chief Gerard Bennett said improperly opening a hydrant can damage it because they are designed to open and close all the way, not partially. If a hydrant goes, the cost to fix it is thousands, said Bennett.

Having locks on hydrants can be a hindrance for firefighting, said Bennett.

Water Sewer Operator John Mikrot’s concern is that the city water supply is vulnerable to contamination if someone is improperly accessing water from a hydrant because of how the water can drain back down into the supply.

Bennett said, “There’s a duty to the citizens of the city to protect that water system.”

With major projects slated for next year, the city council will be actively working on a solution to the access.

Help needed

Following the meeting, Mayor Brent Switzer gave an update on Willow River Area Days. Currently, there is no entity that has agreed to take on the planning of the annual celebration. One sticking point for one organization that considered it was having to pay for the insurance for the event.

The Willow River Fire Department is still looking for applicants.

Volunteers are needed to hang Christmas decorations. Thanks to staff efforts, the lights are ready to go. Anyone interested in helping should let the city know.

Other business

The council approved a shop lease for Mikrot.

The Willow River Fire Department has received a special belt for calls involving lifting people.


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