CHICAGO, Oct. 28 (UPI) — Chicago fire department and water management officials said dozens of brass rings have recently been stolen from city fire hydrants.
Barrett Murphy, first deputy commissioner of the Water Management Department, told aldermen 70 to 100 of the rings were taken in August and September. They said the thieves can sell the brass rings for about $20 each, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.
Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner John McNicholas said the rings are necessary components of the hydrants. The heavy brass rings, normally capped by a cast iron cover, click into the cast metal hydrants allowing hoses to be connected to the hydrants. McNicholas says each fire truck carries two spare rings that can be attached in about 90 seconds.
“Yes, we can still function,” McNicholas said. “Yes, we are delayed. But yes, it endangers lives and it could cause injuries.”
Alderman Robert Fioretti, of the city’s 2nd District, said officials should impose stiffer penalties on those caught taking the rings.
“It’s not just simple damage,” he said. “It’s health, safety and welfare.”