Local News

Wrong Move Results In Flooding In North Raleigh

Posted March 4, 2004

— No charges will be filed against the driver of a tractor-trailer that crashed into a fire hydrant on Atlantic Avenue in Raleigh around 1 a.m.

The 18-wheeler struck the fire hydrant as it was trying to make a U-turn on Atlantic Avenue near New Hope Church Road.

No one was hurt, but the accident created an unusual spectacle. Water gushed 70 feet high -- lit up by the glare of street lights.

"All of a sudden I heard something like a stick of dynamite, a big kaboom. I didn't really pay it much mind and then I walked outside. It was like a water fountain going off," said Randy Whaley who works nearby.

"I have never seen anything quite as high as [what] I see behind me," said Sgt. Doug Brugger.

There was also some concern about the power lines getting pummelled by water.

"Everybody's standing by, fire, CP&L, so in case anything does happen. But right now everything looks OK," Brugger said.

"It's not everyday you see this. Or night. It was pretty interesting," Whaley said.

A backhoe was used to plug the opening as crews spent more than seven hours trying to locate the water main that feeds the hydrant.

Raleigh Public Works director Dale Crisp said a fire hydrant is hit almost every other day in Raleigh. He said it typically takes crews less four hours for repairs; however, this call was not typical.

"Certainly, we are not pleased that it took as long as it did," Crisp said. "There were several complicating factors, but probably the single biggest thing was the fact that the truck decided to run over it at 1 a.m."

With only one crew on call, workers were already at a disadvantage.

"This crew just wasn't familiar with that area. The map that they had with them did not explicitly indicate what main that hydrant was off of," Crisp said.

Once the main was located, the branch valve that led to the hydrant was clogged and another crew was called in to bring special equipment. Crisp said the department will review the case and address any areas where it can make improvements in the process.

the city lost about 500,000 gallons of water or about $800 worth. More than likely, the cost will be passed on to customers.

and

Julia Lewis

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