BRIDGEPORT AND ITS HYDRANTS.
The subject of the public fire hydrants at Bridgeport, Conn, (writes a correspondent), is stirring up a lively breeze in that city. The other night before the common council Director Kennelly of the public works department said that at least twenty-five per cent, of the 680 hydrants in the city should be up in a junk shop. In a communication he said that he was placing auxiliary valves on all the hydrants designated for the use of sprinklers, and that he would only use those hydrants. Chief Mooney said recently that the streetsprinkling men are not using the hydrants designated for their use. “There are many of these hydrants (he pointed out) which the fire department does not want used; but the streetsprinklers seem to want to use any hydrant that they please. If the fire department is to have the responsibility of the care of the hydrants (he added) we should like to specify which hydrants should be used. If you do not want to place the hydrants in the complete charge of the fire department and to give it an ordinance to enable the commissioners to maintain the control, why I advise turning over the hydrants to the street department and allow it to have full control.” The streetsprinkling men, as a fact, act just as Chief Mooney declares, and with great hurt to the hydrants. He is willing to give them one hydrant to every 1.000 feet; but they want to do as they please, and there is nothing in the way of a penalty to stop them from doing so. It is, also, a fact that the sprinkling contracts have been let without being advertised for, and that the contractors sprinkle on streets where the trolley lines run, and the city is thus furnishing hydrants for the company. The streetsprinkling contractor had told the mayor that, if he could get the contract for sprinkling for three years, he would furnish his own hydrants and leave those of the city alone. The remedy proposed is to appropriate money yearly for the street department to purchase hydants for itself. The reason why, in case these sprinklers not using the designated hydrants, they are not fined is that it is unseemly for one arm of the city government department to penalise another! In reference to the emphatic statement of Director Kennelly that twenty-five per cent, of the hydrants should be in the junk shop, it may be that those in the outskirts are hydrants which had been in the ground for from twenty-five to forty years, having been set in the centre of the city and moved into the outskirts. They are certainly unfit for use and will not stand being opened. Many of them, indeed, are wound with canvas!