SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shreveport Water and Sewerage employees are ripping up the sidewalk around a fire hydrant that raised eyebrows and questions in the Broadmoor neighborhood over the weekend.
Photos of the fire plug planted square in the middle of the concrete sidewalk in the 4200 block of Reily Street made the rounds on social media.
"I said, 'that's got to be a joke, it can't be real.' And so I looked a little closer and saw that it is real and I said 'it's absolutely amazing,'" said Tommy Walker, a concerned citizen.
"This is a first," said Trey Bonnette, who saw the hydrant Sunday.
Spectators from across Shreveport came out over the weekend to check out the fire hydrant, which was somehow placed in the middle of the sidewalk.
We asked Brian Crawford, the Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Shreveport about the issue.
He responded, "Yeah that's what I'd like to know. You know? And so would the mayor. We got notice of it on Sunday, and you can't help but look at that photo and go 'how does this happen on purpose?'"
"This is a common sense issue. I mean let's be honest. When is the last time you saw a hydrant in the middle of the sidewalk? I don't think I've ever seen one there, and my question of course was you know, do we have a crew that actually thought, you know, and if there was a supervisor involved that thought this was Okay. Or again, did they think this was funny?" Crawford asked.
Monday morning, crews were out with a backhoe pulling the concrete up from around the fire hydrant in preparation for it to be moved and the sidewalk replaced.
The hydrant was in the same spot in June, but back then, the sidewalk jutted around it, in a 'V' shape. A concerned neighbor called in April to say the hydrant was leaking, so the city began working on it in June. We are told city crews finished replacing the hydrant on Aug. 18. That's when they handed the project off to the city's Public Works Department.
According to Crawford, a picture of the hydrant was included in the project, indicating the sidewalk should be in a 'V' around the new hydrant.
Crawford said he was uncertain when the concrete was actually laid, but the Water and Sewerage Department found out about it on Sept. 8, after a routine inspection when a hydrant is replaced or fixed. Crawford said the department already submitted a work order to fix the sidewalk last week, but social media caught on before it could be fixed.
The chatter on social media made its way to the city's public works officials, which reportedly led to the repair work starting first thing Monday morning.
"It's a cost that the tax payer should not have to incur because of a mistake that was made on the city's part," said Crawford.
The city is investigating how the issue could have happened, which could lead to disciplinary action.
"We're trying to stretch every dollar we can as far as it will go, and this is just not a good example or good use of tax payer money," said Crawford.
The city is also using this as a learning tool. Monday morning, the city sent out the picture of the hydrant in the middle of the sidewalk with the caption, "This is an example of what NOT to do. Streets and Drainage Supervisors are to pre-inspect and sign off on all sidewalk replacement involving sewer lines, including in and around hydrants in the future." Another message with the same picture simply stated, "NO EXCUSE!"
"We're not running from it, we're certainly embarrassed by it, but we're also going to use it to educate those people in the departments that do have this workload," said Crawford.
The city will be moving the hydrant closer to the street and replace the sidewalk so it will be in a straight line. As for the cost, we are told busting up the concrete, moving the hydrant and repairing it could be up to $1,500.