37 HYDRANTS OUT OF SERVICE PENDING WATER LINE REPLACEMENT
Published on December 2, 2004
Author: Barbara O'Brien - NEWS SOUTHTOWNS BUREAU
© The Buffalo News Inc.
U-Crest volunteer firefighters hope that no one else has the chilling experience of tapping into a hydrant in front
of a blazing house and finding a low water flow.
"You've got the pressure, but once you start using it, you don't have the volume," Fire Chief William Graczyk
said. The Erie County Water Authority does not want that to happen, either, and has taken 37 hydrants in seven
communities out of service.
After the fire on Chapel Avenue in Cheektowaga in August, the Water Authority checked the flow on all of its
hydrants that are connected to 4-inch water mains. That is when it found 37 hydrants with flows below
"We're going to take them out of service until we replace the lines," said Brian A. Gould, public affairs officer
for the Water Authority.
The Water Authority has notified the municipalities and fire districts about the hydrants and has told firefighters
of the closest working hydrants.
"We are confident that adequate fire-protection services are available," Robert A. Mendez, executive director of
the authority, told supervisors and mayors in letters last week.
It was Aug. 10 when the Randal Budzilo home on Chapel Avenue caught fire. No one was home at the time.
Firefighters hooked up hoses to a hydrant near the home and then discovered the flow problem. Dispatchers told
them that the next hydrant was out of service, and they eventually hooked up to hydrants across Union Road.
The home was destroyed in the fire.
After the fire, town officials said they believed that the older 4-inch line was not providing sufficient flow,
speculating that corrosion and the buildup of minerals had reduced the functional diameter of the line. Testing
had determined that the pressure was adequate.
Water Authority crews tested the hydrants on Chapel and all the hydrants that were connected to 4-