Fire station gets hosed again

Driver takes out hydrant in front of Fire Station 53 flooding parts of Walnut Ave. and Atwood Street, similar to June 1 incident

VISALIA – They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but bad drivers are endemic to Visalia.

Just before 2:30 p.m. on June 19, a silver Jeep heading westbound on Walnut Avenue crossed oncoming traffic, hopped the curb and took out a hydrant in front of the Visalia Fire Department’s Station 53 before crashing into boulders at the western edge of the property facing Atwood Street.

The crash sent a geyser of water shooting 50 feet into the air, higher than the telephone lines and the flagpole in front of the fire station. Firefighters worked to close the underground valve to the hydrant to cut off the water but were unable to do so before it had flooded the southern shoulder of Walnut in front of the firehouse and all of Atwood from Walnut to Wagner Avenue.

A witness saw the driver get out of the vehicle and then run south on Atwood into a nearby neighborhood where he was later tracked down by police.

No additional information was available, and VPD did not return calls as of press time.

It was the second time in three weeks the hydrant had been hit. The Visalia Stringer reported the hydrant was hit at 4:15 p.m. on June 1 when, similarly, a vehicle ran off the road and hit the hydrant. The difference between the incidents is the driver on June 1 was able to drive away. VPD said no arrests have been made in that incident.

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