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.
“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.
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.