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Hydrant geysers triggered twice a month
Firefighters work to shut off a water value after a car struck a fire hydrant this summer on Woodward Avenue near Main Street. - photo by Bulletin file photo
It happens at least twice a month.

Manteca Fire Chief Kirk Waters believes it may be from drivers getting distracted perhaps while talking on cell phones.

Whatever the case, a vehicle versus fire hydrant happens as many as two dozen times a year in Manteca. Almost all of the hydrants hit are either behind straight-backed curbs in commercial areas or behind sidewalks in residential areas. A few - such as along Woodward Avenue - do not have anything in front of them to slow people down should they drift off the road. All are painted a deep yellow.

“If they really hammer the fire hydrant and it can’t be repaired it can cost $3,000 to $3,500 to have it replaced,” Waters said.

And that either comes out of the responsible party’s pocket or else from their insurance company.

The city actively pursues those who cause accidents that damage public property whether it is a fire hydrant, street light, traffic light, road sign or a street tree in order to retrieve replacement costs.

Waters had nothing but praise for city street crews that respond with the fire department to shut off water when a hydrant is knocked over or sheared off its base.

Waters said the “fun” part of the task goes to the lowest seniority firefighter on the scene. They are required to turn off the shut-off valve that typically is in the middle of the water fountain that gushes out.