News, Police/Fire

Help clear hydrants and catch basins of snow

Lynn fire fighter Robert Kimber, left, and Lynn fire fighter Christopher Doucette shovel out one of the thousands of fire hydrants in Lynn. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN — Firefighters are still digging out the nearly 3,000 fire hydrants citywide.

Thursday’s nor’easter dumped a foot of snow in Lynn, burying the red fire pumps and overwhelming fire fighting crews.

“We’re responsible for keeping them clear because we use them,” said Chief James McDonald. “But we ask residents for their help because it’s a daunting task, especially with all the snow.”

The chief acknowledged that some don’t get cleared as quickly as others.

“By the time we get to them, the snow is kind of bulletproof due to freezing and it’s a real problem to dig them out,” he said. “The private contractors who plow snow sometimes dump it without paying attention and they get buried again.”

Each engine company is responsible for a district and they shovel as soon as the snow stops, he said.

“My guess is 80 percent are done,” McDonald said on Monday. “My wish is to have them all done by Tuesday, and by the end of the week for sure.”

The Fire Department asks residents who have a hydrant near their home to keep it accessible. They ask that a perimeter of about three feet on each side be cleared with a path from the hydrant to the street.

District Fire Chief Stephen Archer said the hydrants near Monday’s fire on Broad Street were clear.

Daniel O’Neill, executive director of the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission, said his staff is working to clear the city’s 3,500 catch basins. But he needs the public’s help.

“We are doing our best to clean them, but we can’t get to them all,” he said. “If we get a few inches of rain later this week, there will be no place for the water to go if they are not clear. Any help from people who live near a catch basin would be appreciated.”

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