By Matthew Saari
Whitehall’s Department of Public Works employees were working till midnight Thursday after a truck struck a fire hydrant.
DPW foreman Steve Brock said he was alerted to the situation at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
“We got two phone calls…that (a truck) clipped a fire hydrant,” he said.
The hydrant, at the corner of Skene and McCotter streets, was struck by a motorist who said he was trying to avoid an oncoming car while negotiating a turn, Brock said.
On arrival, Brock and his crew found that the impact not only shifted the hydrant but also damaged an underground valve, necessitating some digging.
“It was pretty bad,” said Brock.
A notice to residents was posted by Brock and Washington County Department of Public Safety to their respective Facebook pages shortly thereafter, informing locals “it will be necessary to shut off the water system temporarily.”
The affected streets included Wilson Avenue, McCotter Street, Wheeler Avenue, Skene Street and Mountain Street.
No boil-water advisory was issued in the wake of the repairs.
“It didn’t affect the public, it was just a hydrant lateral,” Brock said.
The Village of Whitehall has experienced its fair share of water infrastructure issues in recent months, with at least five advisories going out in the past six months including a crisis in November in which the village was without water for several days, requiring emergency distribution of bottled water.
This fact was not lost on some residents.
“And let the 2020 water fiasco begin,” Damien Omen wrote in response to the Times’ posting of the work alert.
Brock disagreed with this assessment, noting these circumstances were entirely outside the village’s control.
“It wasn’t the Village of Whitehall this time,” he said.