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Resource ID: #19930
Subject: Fire Departments
Source: KGO-TV (San Francisco)
Date: 2002-09-25



An investigation by KGO-TV revealed that "the emergency water supply for San Francisco's fire hydrants was in critical condition. If the water stopped flowing to the hydrants during a disaster such as an earthquake or firestorm, the engines that power the back-up system would blow up. There are two pumping stations in the city that, in an emergency, would draw water out of San Francisco Bay to send to the fire crews. But, the engineer in charge of the stations was failing to maintain the engines. He hadn't changed the oil in more than ten years on the job. (KGO-TV) commissioned independent tests that showed the engines were in critical condition -- that they would blow up, if run at full load for any length of time. (KGO-TV) also revealed that the chief engineer was busy with many other projects at the station that had nothing to do with public safety. The former appliance repairman used the fire department's building to store old washers, dryers, mattress springs, furniture, a bowling ball and other junk. He set up a putting green, and would drive golf balls off the walls. He parked his personal car inside the pumping station for weeks on end, to do body work. He tended a garden of vegetables and spices."

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