Vandals are opening fire hydrants in Aurora and fleeing, causing millions of gallons of water to be wasted and jeopardizing the fire department’s ability to do its job.
Aurora Water reported on Twitter Thursday morning that vandals have opened five fire hydrants and left them with water flowing out. The vandalism has released at least 500,000 gallons of water each time, the tweet said. For context, an Olympic-sized swimming pool holds about 660,000 gallons of water.
The water department also released videos of one vandal opening a hydrant at Mrachek Middle School on South Telluride Street in east Aurora. The video shows two people getting out of a black pickup truck parked in a lot.
One person, wearing black pants and a black hoodie, leaps over a fence and runs to a fire hydrant where he uses a tool to turn on the hydrant at full force. The other person stands near the pickup to watch.
Once the water is blasting, both get back in the truck. The driver then pulls the pickup in reverse down a driveway in front of the school and backs into the water stream for a few seconds before leaving. About 30 seconds later, the pickup returns again and this time drives forward through the spraying water, the video shows.
The truck then leaves the school grounds.
In each incident, water has poured from a hydrant for an unknown amount of time until a resident or a police officer on patrol discovers it, Aurora Water said in the tweet. There are no alarms on fire hydrants that let the water or fire departments know one is running.
The vandalism not only wastes water but it could cause damage to the fire hydrants and to nearby water mains, the water department said.
Authorities say the pickup is a black GMC or Chevrolet crew cab, likely built between 1997 and 2008. Anyone with information on the vandals is encouraged to call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.