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Volunteers help dig out fire hydrants

A team of three volunteers use shovels to clear snow from a fire hydrant on North Knowles Avenue on Friday, Feb. 21. (Photo by Micheal Foley)1 / 2
New Richmond Community Development Director Beth Thompson (right) distributes maps to community members who volunteered to remove snow from fire hydrants on Friday, Feb. 21. (Photo by Micheal Foley)2 / 2

More than 25 community members, including members of the city staff and the New Richmond Fire Department, responded to a call for volunteers to clear snow from fire hydrants on Friday, Feb. 21.

The previous day, more than a foot of snow was dumped on the region forcing schools to dismiss students early on Thursday and cancel classes all-together on Friday. Several community events had to be rescheduled as well, including the New Richmond Police Department drug forum scheduled for Thursday evening.

As plow operators worked through the night to make roads somewhat passable, a thick layer of glare ice remained on most city streets while fierce winds created drifts.

With the snowstorm, the plowing and the drifting snow, most fire hydrants in the city were buried until the volunteers shoveled them out.

The volunteers, armed with shovels and snowblowers, gathered at 1:30 p.m. at the New Richmond Civic Center where Community Development Director Beth Thompson and City Administrator Mike Darrow organized them into teams. City staff broke the city into 12 sections for the project. Each two- to three-member team was assigned a portion of the city to cover and given a map showing exactly where each fire hydrant in the area could be found.

Darrow promised the volunteers that they would be invited to an egg bake breakfast hosted by himself, Mayor Fred Horne, Public Works Director Jeremiah Wendt and Fire Chief Jim VanderWyst.

In case the volunteers didn’t make it through your neighborhood, the city would like you to remove snow from any fire hydrants in your neighborhood so firefighters don’t have to search for a water source during an emergency.

Micheal Foley
Micheal Foley worked at RiverTown Multimedia from July 2013 to June 2015 as editor at the New Richmond News. 
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