Crews Need Police Escort to Shut Off Fire Hydrants

CBS Chicago, July 22, 2011

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.

{snip}

“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.

{snip}

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.

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  • Anonymous

    Actually, that’s one of the few occasions in which law and order can confront gang members face to face in the daytime. This opportunity should be used to round them up.

  • Tim in Indiana

    Is this general disdain for the law still going on? The scene of black kids of the “inner city” playing in the water from fire hydrants is iconic in black and white photos from the 1960s! Back then, it was blamed on “poverty.”

    Just recently, we read in the news that most of today’s “poor” have cell phones, microwave ovens, air conditioning and flat-screen TVs. What is the mainstream excuse for this petty lawbreaking today? Does anybody believe that nobody in the inner city has money to attach a hose to a sprinkler, that hundreds of gallons of water need to be wasted to cool off? This is pure civil disobedience and contempt for society. Always was.

  • Anonymous

    Many years ago when I lived n NYC we had a very bad drought. It may have been in the 70s. I had actually taken a trip to upstate New York and I saw first hand how low the reservoir lakes were. It was bad. It was a hot summer, no rain, and everyone was cautioned to cut back on water consumption.

    However, in the ghetto, the Blacks just opened the fire hydrants and nobody said anything. This caused a major problem for the firefighters when they were called to put out a fire because the water pressure was so low. The Whites, as usual, did nothing because they were afraid of another Black uprising.

    By the way, I lived in an older building and had no air conditioning just like so many other Whites at the time. I was a liberal at the time, but I remember being disgusted at how the Blacks got away with this when we were all suffering.

  • White Lily

    Chicago seems to be experiencing more than routine unruliness lately.

    Is there perhaps a lack of community organization?

    Maybe that could be remedied by the return of a certain black leader upon his departure from Washington, D.C. in early 2013.

    Obviously his cohort, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, could use the help.

  • Mike B.

    “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.

    We used to open the hydrants ALL the time many decades ago in NYC. The cops would come around with their wrench and shut them off and when they left, we’d open them up again… etc., etc.

    BUT, we never started KILLING people (or anything else bad, for that matter), when the cops turned them off. We just turned them back on again when they left. That’s it.

    But of course, “race is a social construct.”

  • Question Diversity

    Ironically, D.C. is floating a plan to use firefighters as de facto cops, mainly because the “youths” who are “working” in government funded make work summer jobs (no real jobs because illegal alien Hispanics have A-1 priority) get robbed and mugged on pay day. Firefighters aren’t cops, and they’re usually not armed.

  • Tom in Illinois

    Maybe an officer posing as a water treatment worker could’ve rounded up a bunch of those guys just for “officer intimidation”, but thatd be racist though. we lose again…

  • HH

    It was 108-degrees in Newark, NJ today…I can only imagine what THAT was like as well!!

  • Mugged by Reality

    This is interesting in part because The City of Chicago had rather unusual hydrants, unlike shy I’ve seen anywhere else. They are very low to the ground, almost at pavement level. I wonder how much relief from the heat you could really get, without lying on the ground.

    Maybe it’s just opening them that’s fun. Keeping it real, you know what I’m sayin’?

  • Anonymous

    In NYC, the firehouses supply sprinkler caps to citizens wishing to open fire hydrants. The concern is without a cap the flow is very strong, strong enough to hurt someone. But more importantly, when there is wide-spread opening of hydrants city water pressure drops. A dangerous situation for all. Socially responsible people don’t open the hydrants without a sprinkler cap.

  • Question Diversity

    I could rationalize opening fire hydrants to stay cool a number of decades ago. Now, a majority of residential units have A/C, and even if they don’t, virtually all have showers that have the neat capability of spraying only cold water if one desires. As others have said above, this behavior is nothing more than doing something mischievous because you know you can get away with it.

  • OBSERVER

    Turn off the water mains.

    Having lived in Africa, I know that there are NO fire hydrants in their cities.

    None.

    This is another white invention they can not grasp. So, shut the entire system down.

    I am sure these neighborhoods were built and once occupied by working white families in the past. Back then, they understood the purpose and need of hydrants. They were white.

    Today, we are attempting to provide white industrial civilization to a human breed with an IQ of 85.

    It can not be done. Either leave the water to run or remove the hydrants. There is NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE.

  • Anonymous

    This is exactly why Mayor Daley the first used millions of dollars of federal money to built hundreds of swimming pools in the black areas of Chicago back in the 1960’s. The blacks were opening the fire hydrants and causing the exact problems.

    The free swimming pools all over the city were supposed to solve the problem. Not to mention one of the greatest beaches in the world for the cost of bus fare.

    The contrast between hispanic and black kids is like night and day. One would never see this behavior in any neighborhood but black.

  • Anonymous

    “Ironically, D.C. is floating a plan to use firefighters as de facto cops, mainly because the “youths” who are “working” in government funded make work summer jobs are getting robbed”

    Speaking of black youth in make work summer jobs at government agencies. My agency was replete with black girls every summer. There was nothing for them to do. It was a major job to come up with something for them to do.

    This was before direct deposit of paychecks. Our manager sent one of the black girls down to personnel to pickup the paychecks the first payday she “worked” with us. She never came back.

    A couple hours later he got a call from the police. She and a group of friends had been arrested at a check cashing facility for trying to cash the paychecks.

    The boys were sent to clean parks and streets. They often left the job site and roamed the neighborhood robbing. One nasty crew grabbed the purses of the Mothers who brought their little ones to the toddler playground at the park where the boys were “working.”

  • MrGJG

    “However, in the ghetto, the Blacks just opened the fire hydrants and nobody said anything. This caused a major problem for the firefighters when they were called to put out a fire because the water pressure was so low. The Whites, as usual, did nothing because they were afraid of another Black uprising.”

    Of course when one of their dwellings caught fire, they’d scream racism when their was no water to put it out.

    Kind of like they accuse racism when the cops are cracking down in their neighborhoods, than again when the cops ignore their neighborhoods.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  • flyingtiger

    I have lived in Chicago for over 50 years (and hope to leave soon.) I have never seen white people open a fire hydrant. Black and Hispanic, but never white people. I guess we white people are too dull.

  • Istvan

    15 — MrGJG wrote at 3:45 PM on July 23:

    Of course when one of their dwellings caught fire, they’d scream racism when their was no water to put it out.

    Kind of like they accuse racism when the cops are cracking down in their neighborhoods, than again when the cops ignore their neighborhoods.

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Damned if you do, damned if you do: it is not uncommon for blacks to shoot at firemen when putting out a fire in their hood.

    An astonishing group of beings.

  • OBSERVER

    Can’t we just come out and say it? We need a white only country.

    That will solve 100% of all racial problems, 75%+ of all crime and perhaps 90% of all rapes of white women.

    I live and long for the day that I can own a business and apartment complex and put out a sign that says:

    “NO BLACKS, CHINESE, JEWS or MEXICANS. WHITES ONLY”

    Until that day, we whites will live in hell under these “masters” who survive ONLY by the work of white civilization.

    Pain is coming.

  • *MASON*

    Residents you say?

    By residents do you mean blacks who have no respect for anything or anyone?

    Oh there I go again I hope this observation won’t mean I am a racist?

  • Anon

    Instead of shutting them off they should have set the area on fire and showed them why hydrants are important.

  • the way

    Anonymous wrote at 7:17 AM on July 23.” In NYC, the firehouses supply sprinkler caps to citizens wishing to open fire hydrants.”

    Very true. When I was a kid growing up in Brooklyn in the early 70s a local fireman from the Fire Dept would entrust one of us kids on the block with the sprinkler cap and wrench for the summer. In reality it was a great lesson in responsibilty. Initially we would fight over who was the “sprinkler king” for the summer. But eventually at 7-10 years old we decided peacefully ON OUR OWN to swap every two weeks. We never casued a problem by spraying water onto oncoming cars as many ghetto kids would do often ending in violence. But then again that was a different time. Incidentally, we were all white.

  • Anonymous

    OBSERVER wrote at 1:23 PM on July 24:

    ?I live and long for the day that I can own a business and apartment complex and put out a sign that says:

    “NO BLACKS, CHINESE, JEWS or MEXICANS. WHITES ONLY”

    Until that day, we whites will live in hell under these “masters” who survive ONLY by the work of white civilization.

    Pain is coming.”

    Observer. I didnt realize that I was not white? This is quite shocking to me .I am a pale, stay out of the sun, blond haired, green eyed, half JEW Conservative who is Irish, Spanish (yes, Spain), Russian and Polish. Where do I fit into this paradigm?

  • Anonymous

    #18 Observer:

    That is the only answer that even racially aware whites are unwilling to utter. I got into a somewhat heated discussion with several fathers on an outing for our young male children (you can guess the organization). While the children were playing, the dads talked. Frankly I was shocked at their naive approach to this society, even a law enforcement officer that his only contribution was to say they (nonwhites), are here and every thing has changed and we just need to accept it, crime, societal disruption and all. I was the oldest and tried to explain that I was born into an America that was 95% white and safe and sane and we need to go back to that. Well, you could hear the slight wind rusling the pines as most just looked down at the ground and I just stood there, waiting for at least a nod. Only one father would agree, somewhat survivalist oriented who is not vocal but obviously agrees. These were all younger white men, businessmen and others that should know better and probably do. We have all become cowards haven’t we, cowed by the massive rush of third world immigrants, cowed by our church leaders telling us that we are selfish if we don’t hand over our country, cowed by the authorities and government and schools and the many organizations owned and run by feminists and I could go on and on. One thing is certain, many of us guys, fiftiesh males, veterans, patriots, those of us that remember the best days of America, we will not go quietly.

  • Anonymous

    Growing up in the 1950s, I played with toy fire engines that had front seats that were open to the weather. Today all firetrucks have enclosed front seats, because in the riots of the 1960s and 1970s, the youffs would throw bricks and bottles at the firemen from the top of buildings. Unless they were shooting at them.

  • Michael C. Scott

    Shutting down the water mains will not be done for the simple reason that the lawsuits will fly fast and furious right after is was done. It is cheaper for a municipal government to pay cops and firefighters overtime than it is do defend itself in court.

    The amusing aspect to this is that it happened in Chicago, a city where the beaches were recently closed due to the violent behavior of precisely the people who opened up the hydrants.

  • Anonymous

    #13 Anonymous…there wasn’t and isn’t much contrast between hispanics and blacks in NYC!

  • Guy from St. Louis

    Its sad that this is a topic about fire hydrants but it turns to race in some of the comments… I’m a 30 year old white male who live in the city of St. Louis and we have the same problem the the fire plugs being opened and causing the water pressure to go down… It even causes my fire alarm for the apartment building to sound cause the pressure gets so low and builds up, the water starts flowing back in. However, Its all kinds of people doing this.. Not just black, not just white, not just Latinos, not just Jews.. Its everyone… So I wish for once people could just stick the topic at hand…

    I think the cities who have the problems, need to put some type of locking cap that only the water department and the fire department can remove. That’s about the only way you are going to solve the problem…. Getting rid of the fire hydrants is not something that would work in a high populated building with alot of close built buildings.. African towns might not have Fire Hydrants, but im sure when something catches fire there, the damage is al ot worse here…..

    I guess since I have been raised in a small Catholic farm town, then moved to the city when I was 19 and live here since, I have grown to the diversity that is around me… When I see a fire Hydrant open, I don’t instantly think… It was opened by a black man… This wouldn’t have happen if this town was all white…. Nope. I just think, Damn… Some kid opened it up again.. Color or race doesn’t even come into my head as a thought. I wish more Americans would think the same… we all came from over seas.. (unless you are Native American)….

  • Question Diversity

    27 Guy from St. Louis wrote:

    I’m a 30 year old white male who live in the city of St. Louis and we have the same problem the the fire plugs being opened … Its all kinds of people doing this.. Not just black, not just white, not just Latinos, not just Jews.. Its everyone…

    Yeah, I know, one of my favorite pasttimes on summer evenings is taking leisurely drives around the West End and its residential streets, watching all those 13-year old Jewish boys wearing yammukahs celebrate their Bar Mitzvahs by cracking open fire hydrants. After all, one of the West End streets is named Waterman!

    The last paragraph was sarcastic, in case you didn’t notice.

    When I see a fire Hydrant open, I don’t instantly think… It was opened by a black man…

    A murder victim really doesn’t (or can’t) care about the race of person that murdered him. That doesn’t make the discussion of the racial stats of murderers (disproportionately black, BTW) off limits.

  • Anonymous

    One thing is certain, many of us guys, fiftiesh males, veterans, patriots, those of us that remember the best days of America, we will not go quietly.

    Yes we will. We already have. If you haven’t done anything yet, you will not in the future.

    You have kids, it is too late for you. Revoltutions are made by those with nothing to lose. Not little league dads. Sorry to be the one to tell you.