By Mark Hallum
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) made the observation over the summer that many of the fire hydrants in his district were missing caps.
Without a cap, rust and trash can accumulate in the hydrant, obstruct the flow of water and hamper firefighter efforts to extinguish the blaze, he said.
“It’s really incredible just how many fire hydrant caps are missing. This issue is not localized to one or two neighborhoods either,” Avella said. “I’ve seen this throughout my entire district alone. Left unprotected, they become obstructed with gunk or trash, which may impede firefighters from accessing them during an emergency. If they don’t already, the FDNY needs the proper resources to proactively go about replacing them.”.
The senator believes scavengers, who prey on any scrap metal that is not secured, are taking the caps for extra pocket money..
Avella wrote a letter to the Fire Department and the Department of Environmental Protection to bring the matter to their attention.
The response did not please the senator from Bayside.
“An elected official may as well write their letters in crayons, for all the good it would do getting this administration’s attention on a crucial issue. Fire hydrants all throughout the city have been left with missing caps,” he said. “According to the Department of Environmental Protection, what I should have done is call 3-1-1 to report each missing cap rather than attempt a direct discussion about this systemic problem.”
Avella went on to further blame the de Blasio administration for dismissing the issue and the lack of adequate response from the agencies. The lawmaker said this was just another failure by the administration to respond to the issues that matter.
“Am I supposed to physically survey every hydrant, phone them in, and re-survey again to see if the caps have been replaced?” Avella said.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall