Ed LaCour, a Kingwood resident for 24 years, attended the Kingwood Services Association (KSA) Public Safety Meeting March 11 to express concern about the condition of fire hydrants in Kingwood. He explained that he observed the Houston Fire Department’s response to a car fire in the porte-cochere of a home located next to his son’s home in the Kings Point area on the afternoon of March 1.
LaCour was most complimentary about the response times and the professionalism of the firemen and the two firetrucks that arrived on the scene. He had serious concerns, however, about an apparent difficulty the firemen had getting the fire hose hooked up at the fire hydrant located on Autumn Dogwood Drive.
“The firefighters were struggling to get connected to the fire hydrant. It was a challenge just opening it up. It looked like it took about 10 minutes to get the hose connected for the fire,” LaCour said.
He explained that the family in the home ended up fine and the firemen contained the fire basically to the rise of the high roof of the home’s porte-cochere where the car had been parked. In spite of the delay in getting the fire hose hooked up, the firemen saved the house and it turned out well.
“I don’t think it was expected for them to have gotten there in time to put the car out before it impacted the porte-cochere, not at all, but I do think it is worthwhile to see: one, if the fire hydrants are inspected on a regular basis and opened up and tested, and two, do we have records of when the inspection actually occurred? I don’t want to speak just for myself; I think we all need to know that they are being inspected so it would be great to get a response from you. Thank you.” LaCour said.
Dee Price, president of the KSA, responded, “As far as I know, they do periodically check them because there is a fire hydrant across the street from my house and I have seen them out there and periodically open them up and run the water.”
Denise Krieger, speaking as the committee chairperson, addressed LaCour’s specific requests. “I agree with Dee. I have seen them testing hydrants around the community but I don’t know what the schedule is or anything like that. I assume there must be a record of that. I’m sorry, we normally have someone from the fire department here but they are not here tonight. We can get the information for you and get back to you,” Krieger said.
Price said she thought a private firm named Inframark, under contract to the City of Houston, was responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of the water in Kingwood, including its fire hydrants.
In other business, Officer Daniel Von Quintus, the representative to the committee from the Houston Police Department, announced he would be leaving Kingwood to assume a new position.
“I did get my position in Crimes Against Children, so this will be my last public safety meeting. I want to tell you I have put my heart and soul into this community for however long it’s been.” he said.
The committee thanked him with a loud round of applause and wished him well.
Following the meeting, Ethyl McCormick of Kingwood Management Association confirmed that the City of Houston requires annual inspections of its fire hydrants. Inspections include mechanical condition standards compliance and actual flow tests. Inframark Water and Infrastucture Services is the firm that maintains the hydrants in Kingwood. The hydrants are each numbered and records are maintained based on the hydrant number and its location. The information is available by contacting the city. If there are suspected or apparent problems to be reported such as damage from a car hitting a hydrant, it should be reported to the City of Houston using the 311 non-emergency phone network.
The next KSA Public Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room, 2038 Shadow Rock, Kingwood.. The public is invited to attend. Due to the current coronavirus situation, you are encouraged to call the Kingwood Association Management office at 281-358-5192 a day or two prior to confirm if the meeting is still scheduled.