NEWARK - Public safety officials are working to discourage residents from opening fire hydrants to cool off this summer.
Opening a hydrant is illegal and punishable by a fine of $1,000 and 90 days in jail.
Parents complain the nearest city pool is more than a mile away, and the hydrants are more convenient. City officials argue that it’s creating a safety concern.
"When children are playing in the streets, that opens the possibility for cars to come and hit them,” says Newark Fire Director Fateen Ziyad.
Newark firefighters have been shutting down open hydrants whenever they get complaints, which number about 20 a day.
While it may seem harmless, the fire department says opening a hydrant for kids to cool off can be a real problem for firefighters when they actually need that water pressure to put out a fire.
Ziyad says an open hydrant doesn't just affect the water pressure at other hydrants, it also affects the pressure inside nearby homes. The fire department gets most of its complaints about open hydrants from neighbors.