Fire Departments throughout Imperial County are asking for the public’s assistance in reporting fire hydrant thefts.
In the past couple of weeks, there has been a rash of fire hydrants that have been shut off and parts stolen in various cities and towns including Brawley, Calipatria, El Centro, Heber, Holtville and Imperial.
Fire Department officials have reason to believe that the activity is due to the demand for scrap metal. The offenders shut off portions of the city’s water supply in order to dismantle the hydrants and take the scrap metal of value.
This process not only takes the single hydrant out of service until it is repaired, but the remaining critical infrastructure in line for firefighting and life safety purposes; such as fire sprinkler systems and additional fire hydrants.
In the past month, approximately two dozen fire hydrants have been damaged in multiple areas causing roughly $50,000 in damages. Each City is responsible for replacing each damaged hydrant which can cost around $2,000 each.
According to the Fire Chiefs throughout the County, fire hydrant theft and damage presents a critical issue that could lead to deadly consequences for example lack of water in an emergency situation resulting in loss of property and life.
The public is being urged to report any theft or destruction by contacting their local police department or city or county fire departments. In addition, the public is asked not to try to stop these thefts on their own if they witness a theft in progress but to provide assistance by reporting the activity as soon as possible. Those found guilty of fire hydrant theft could face a felony conviction and a prison term of three years.
Contact information for local fire and police departments:
Calipatria Fire Department 760-348-4144 Calipatria Police Department 760-348-2211
Brawley Fire Department 760-344-1234 Brawley Police Department 760-344-2111
Imperial Fire Department 760-355-1191 Imperial Police Department 760-355-4327
El Centro Fire Department 760-337-4530 El Centro Police Department 760-352-2113
Holtville Fire Department 760-356-2991 Holtville Police Department 760-36-2991
Calexico Fire Department 760-768-2150 Calexico Police Department 760-768-2140
Imperial County Fire Department 760-482-2420