MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - Fire chiefs from across St. Tammany Parish are raising concerns about poorly maintained water hydrants and water systems needed to douse fires. They are asking the parish to do more before someone gets hurt.
"The infrastructure in place has not been maintained as we need it on the fire department," said Kenneth Moore, the fire chief of Mandeville, Fire District 4.
It can be a matter of life or death. No one knows exactly how many fire hydrants are broken, but it could be several hundred and with whole blocks unprotected, fire chiefs from across the parish, want something done.
"It's parish-wide and we wanted to identify them and see things done faster," said Chris Kaufmann with Slidell Fire District 1.
The fire chiefs say the parish has not been able to force up to 500 different water providers to properly maintain hydrants and water systems needed to put out fires.
They went to the administration building to discuss their concerns with parish officials.
"This is a priority. The lines of communication are going to be open and we will come up with a plan on how to achieve the goals of the chiefs and the administration," said parish CAO Gina Campo.
Parish officials say they will review operating agreements with hundreds of water companies to see if they can be forced to maintain water service vital for resident safety.
"We have to change response, bring additional water and be aware and adapt to address concerns and responses until we get repairs made," said Kaufmann.
"It requires coordination, cooperation and communication and that's what we have mapped out a plan to do today," said Campo.
St. Tammany fire chiefs are confident that after today's meeting they will be seeing fewer broken hydrants.