Who’s responsible for shoveling fire hydrants?

The responsibility of clearing hydrants varies from town to town

A fire hydrant remains buried on School Street Monday. (Photo by The Westfield News/Frederick Gore)

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  A lot of people are confused about who’s supposed to clear the snow from fire hydrants. One of three parties is responsible for shoveling around fire hydrants: the city, the water department, or you, and where that responsibility falls depends on where you live.

22News investigated whose responsibility it is to clear the snow around fire hydrants. We found out it depends on which city or town you call home. In both Springfield and Greenfield, it’s the homeowner or property owner’s job to clear hydrants. But in Northampton, according to the Department of Public Works director, the water department’s responsible.

It’s the same in West Springfield, where firefighters say the confusion over who-cleans-what makes their job harder.

Chief Bill Flaherty of the West Springfield fire department told 22News, “We have over 14-hundred in the town of West Springfield alone, so that’s why we’re asking the business owners, the property owners, people in the areas of these hydrants to go out and clear them. We need the help. We can only do so much.”

West Springfield fire fighters have taken the initiative to clear some hydrants too. About a block down from the West Springfield fire department, 22News found a hydrant with snow and ice from the previous snow storms covering its base.

Western Massachusetts residents say they’ve had enough. “So we’re now a week after the storm,” says Betty Tegel of turners Falls, “and I’m not going to say what town or district, I’m just going to say Franklin county, but we still have fire hydrants that are not cleared of snow.”

Tegel said she’s contacted Greenfield’s Mayor, urging him to impose fines for hydrants still buried in snow. She is also speaking with state lawmakers to ask for uniform responsibility through out the state.

You are encouraged to contact your city hall or DPW find out who’s responsible where you live.

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