Hydrant-related fatalities

You have to admit. Before the Internet, I couldn’t have possibly known that in New York City, it’s illegal to open a fire hydrant & waste all the water, but you can legally open the hydrant if you pick up a free spray cap. The cap limits the amount of wasted water, while letting kids party around the fire hydrant:


I love the commissioner’s explanation for why you shouldn’t illegally open fire hydrants. She went through all the legitimate reasons, and then for good measure, added:

Also, children can be at serious risk, because the powerful force of a open hydrant without a spray cap can push them into oncoming traffic.”

Not that the powerful force can hurt them, but specifically that it’ll thrust little Joe through a car’s windshield.

I stand corrected if this has actually ever happened.


2 thoughts on “Hydrant-related fatalities

  1. Tony Beeman

    “The police department should also be aware that in some states the courts have found persons flowing hydrants into streets and then leaving them flowing unattended to be civilly liable when children attracted into the streets to play in the water have been struck by automobiles. These claims have been based largely on the premise that a reasonable person would recognize the “attractive nuisance” created by the flowing hydrant and the inherent risks involved with children playing in the street, the compromised visibility and decreased vehicular traction due to the flowing water, and the present danger which results. In many states this is considered gross negligence and/or willful disregard for public safety which can pierce a municipality’s general immunity from liability and result in large damage settlements, especially if the plaintiffs can prove that the discharges are unauthorized.” (link)King County has a list of “Attractive Nuisances”, which includes abandoned wells, refridgerators, automobiles, trash and vegetation. How do you keep the kids away? I’m not sure, because “fences” is also listed.

  2. Ray

    Interesting… though the commissioner didn’t say “cases where kids were hit while playing in pools on the street.” So I will stand by my comment for now.


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