BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – From red and orange, to blue and green, the bright colored fire hydrants in Belen are a new sight for residents.
“I’ve seen them painted different colors, and I didn’t know what that mean,” said one Belen resident.
The colors are part of a new fire plan. Each hydrants color indicates its status. Blue is what you want to see, but black, that means the hydrant is out of service. Everything else means a lack of ideal water pressure.
Out of 345 fire hydrants, the city’s hydrant test shows 22 are out of service and another 29 have insufficient water pressure.
When KRQE News 13 asked asked resident Evelyn Silva how she felt knowing her house was right next to a dead fire hydrant, she said, “Well, not safe, if there’s a fire here… not safe at all.”
Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova said they are aware it’s a problem and have been working to fix it for the past three years.
“It is very concerning to the city of Belen, that these fire hydrants have been inoperable, and I think it shows a lot of years of neglect,” said Jerah Cordova.
He said about 15 percent of the city’s hydrants have an issue. He said they’ve also been collecting $1 a month on water bills for a hydrant fund.
“Right now what we’re looking at is a plan to replace a number of those every year, somewhere between 7 to 10 if the finances allow,” said Cordova.
He says although residents are concerned, they’re working to make the city a safer place.
“We know what the problem is and we have enough money we think to begin starting that repair project,” said Cordova.
The city is focusing on the out of service hydrants in the most populated areas first. The mayor said it could take up to five years to fix them all.
To view a list of locations and the status of each Belen fire hydrant, click here.