Northwest NEWS

September 4, 2000

Front Page

Thousands of gallons of drinking water lost to fire hydrant vandals

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   Just after midnight on August 22nd, between the hours of 12:15 a.m. and 1 a.m., an individual, or group of individuals, opened four fire hydrants in the Woodinville area. Homes in some neighborhoods were suddenly without water. People still awake at that late hour called the Woodinville Water District to report the trouble and an emergency on-call staff responded. 94,000 gallons of drinking water was lost.
   "We were fortunate it was only in the residential area," said Bob Bandarra, General Manager of the Woodinville Water District. But Bandarra pointed out that this is not a one-time incident this summer. "This is the second time we've had this problem," he said.
   Five Woodinville Water District fire hydrants were opened by vandals during the night on June 28 in the Cottage Lake area.
   That occurrence caused extensive damage to salmon bearing streams, wiping out salmon eggs that were nesting at the bottom of stream beds.
   According to Deputy Fire Marshall Joel Kuhnhenn, water damage caused by open fire hydrants constitutes a civil offense and individuals responsible will face liability for losses and legal fees. When salmon habitat is damaged, the cost to the offender could be in the thousands of dollars.
   To Deputy Fire Marshall Kuhnhenn, fire hydrant vandalism isn't a harmless prank. "Not only are they jeopardizing the use of the hydrant but they are potentially destroying property and putting people at risk," he said.
   The four hydrants that were opened include: Hydrant 568 in the Paradise Lake Road area at 195th and NE 202 Pl; Hydrant 1349 in the area of 160th and NE 145th Street; Hydrant 1624 located at 145th and 164th Ave.NE; Hydrant 733 located at 195th and NE 165th.
   If anyone has information regarding the fire hydrant vandalism that occurred on August 22nd, contact the King County Police at 206-296-3311.
   The Woodinville Water District asks customers who see anyone accessing a fire hydrant in a suspicious manner to call 911 immediately and the water district at 425-483-9104.