New Albany News

Firefighters swap hoses for shovels this winter

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Plain Township firefighters Jason Bates, left, and Mark Powell remove snow piled around a fire hydrant two weeks ago.

City crews aren't the only public-service workers who have to shovel snow.

Plain Township firefighters spent much of early February clearing snow from around some 998 fire hydrants in New Albany and Plain Township.

As of Feb. 12, all hydrants were accessible and all had been checked to make sure they would work properly, said Assistant Fire Chief Jack Rupp.

"We worked really hard to dig them out," Rupp said.

He said the frigid weather prevented firefighters from being outside for several hours at a time.

The Licking County portion of New Albany, which includes the Personal Care and Beauty Campus, has 67 hydrants.

The hydrants on Smith's Mill Loop Road are on a public road and snow is cleared from them by the Monroe Township Fire Department, said Mark Nemec, New Albany's service department director.

Monroe Township Fire Capt. Rob Albright said his department helps clear hydrants as time permits.

Nemec said the Personal Care and Beauty Campus also has gray hydrants, which use water from ponds and are maintained by New Albany.

The business park also has some private hydrants, which are maintained by the property owners, Nemec said.

Residents are encouraged by the city to clear snow around hydrants that are close to their homes, Nemec said.

When firefighters shovel snow to expose hydrants, they test each hydrant to make sure no water has frozen inside, Rupp said.

Rupp said if firefighters find a hydrant that needs maintenance, they request help from the New Albany service department.

Nemec said service workers repair all hydrants in the city.

The city also is responsible for painting hydrants.

The Plain Township Fire Department flushes all hydrants in the spring and fall to prevent problems in the winter.

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