16 Wake County schools found to have hydrants deemed ‘deficient’

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s the largest school district in the state but is Wake County doing enough to keep your kids safe at school?

The Raleigh Fire Department is ready to fight fires but when they pull up to a scene – things are not always in their favor.

“We’ve had some that we’ve pulled up on with bushes grown up around and we can’t see it,” said Brandon McGhee, Assistant Fire Marshal.

Working fire hydrants make all the difference.

“It is extremely important. We’ve got a lot of obstructions that we’ve cleared for these guys on the truck,” according to McGhee.

The City of Raleigh maintains more than 22,00 public fire hydrants, but there are an additional 7,000 private hydrants.

It’s up to the property owners to maintain those.

And as it turns out, they are not always in working order.

CBS 17 uncovered 16 Wake County public schools that have private fire hydrants deemed deficient.  

Beaver Dam Elementary School North Forest Pines Drive Elementary School
Daniels Middle School River Bend Elementary School
Douglas Elementary School Root Elementary School
Durant Road Elementary SchoolSanderson High School
Jeffreys Grove Elementary School Wakefield Elementary School
Lead Mine Road Elementary School Wakefield High School
Millbrook Elementary School West Millbrook Middle School
Millbrook High School York Elementary School

That means they have recognized issues and some date back at least two years.

Tamisha Spears’ son is in fourth grade at Durant Road Elementary and that school is one of the schools where a hydrant is listed as deficient.

“I’m shocked,” she said. “I knew nothing about it. I’m very concerned at this point. Very concerned.”

The Wake County Public School System contracts with a private company to perform the required annual testing and maintenance of its hydrants on school properties.

Any deficiencies are noted and provided to the school system.  

 The Wake County Fire Marshal’s Office also reviews those reports during their bi-annual inspections of school facilities and when hydrants are deemed deficient they also notify the district.

A hydrant deemed deficient can still work.

So why has it taken nearly two years for 16 of its hydrants to be fixed and put back on the compliant list?

CBS 17 asked the district for more information on the hydrants.

District spokeswoman Lisa Luten told CBS 17 the deficiencies include things like barrels not draining, leaks and parts in need of lubrication.

Fire hydrant outside Durant Road Elementary School

According to the Raleigh Fire Department, barrels not draining could be a problem in extreme winter temperatures, leaks are also a concern depending on where it’s originating from and a hydrant could be difficult to open if not greased.  

Josh Buck has a child who attends Durant Road Elementary.

“That should have been reported and done something with. Pretty simple,” said Buck.

Here’s why it’s so important that these hydrants are compliant.

There are around 4,000 school building fires each year across the country, according to FEMA.

That resulted in 75 injuries and close to $70 million in damages.

More headlines from CBS17.com:

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