Detroit to fix faulty fire hydrants

Faulty fire hydrants are costing Detroiters their homes. Now the fix, which has been years in the making, is underway. 

The City of Detroit is resurrecting efforts to repair and replace hydrants on the fritz. Detroit's Chief Operating Officer Gary Brown says there could be as many as 500 out of whack.

"We recognize that we have had an issue. We're coming out of bankruptcy, so there's been a decade or more of not investing in our infrastructure and now we're in a position to invest in it," said Detroit Chief Operating Officer Gary Brown.

In the coming weeks, firefighters will inspect roughly 30,000 fireplugs and the city's water department, as well as contractors will make the needed repairs.

"She had a two-car garage right across the street and I watched it completely burn down because this fire hydrant wasn't working and neither was that one down the street," said Etoria Montgomery.

She watched firefighters hook up to hydrants blocks away because the one in front of her house on Detroit's east side has not been working for a year-and-a-half.

"I actually called them and asked if somebody was going to come out about the fire hydrant, and they said, 'Yeah, we're going to take care of it but because it's so cold, just give us a minute.' Now, they're just getting here to take care of it ... a year later," said Montgomery.

"Not a good system in place, not good communication between the people that were inspecting them, the fire department with the people that actually fix them, the water department. We've resolved those communications issues," said Brown. 

Before then, Detroiters have been paying the price for that break down in communication with their homes.

"The fire chief himself said the house could've been saved if the hydrants were working," said Hayward Graves.

Hayward Graves lost his century old Colonial in Boston Edison in February. Nearly two weeks later and about two miles away, firefighters responded to another blaze only to find the pair of hydrants closest to the house fire were frozen. A few days before that, faulty hydrants hampered efforts to save a home on Sorrento.

The City of Detroit is turning the page on that ugly chapter. Here's to hoping brighter days are ahead.

"I'm very excited about them fixing the hydrant, even though it took a year-and-a-half to do it, it's done," said Montgomery.