SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) --Residents say complaints about broken fire hydrants went ignored until disaster struck one San Jose neighborhood. A weekend fire there destroyed a family home and killed two pets. They're in the process of being fixed but the big question now is why not sooner? It's a story you'll see only on ABC7 News.
The fire hydrant on Sugar Creek Drive works now. But when it was needed most, it did not.
Two pets died during a weekend fire. The two closest fire hydrants were broken. One had a gaping hole.
"We have called the city time and time about this fire hydrant," said San Jose resident Darrel Guidry.
Fellow resident Lauren McKee adds, "It hasn't been fixed and, you know, it's major."
"It's kind of a wakeup call now," said resident Stan Wirth.
But despite all those calls, the San Jose Water Company, contracted by the Municipal Water System to do repairs, says the only call they received was on Monday.
"We do not have a record of these complaints, certainly if we would have known we would have fixed it," said Municipal Water System spokesperson Jennie Loft.
According Loft, says three employees inspect 300 hydrants a year. There are 850 hydrants total. Employees rely on those inspections and resident complaints to catch problems.
When asked how these two got past all of those, Loft said, "We have to look into that."
Loft says the hydrant with the gaping hole was fixed in December 2015. She says the other one closest to the fire was last inspected two years ago. It's not clear what happened to either since.
She also can't say how many more are broken.
Woodrow: "Is that a problem that the city doesn't know how many hydrants are currently out of service right now?"
Loft: "Well like I said, we have that three year maintenance plan."
Firefighters ultimately got water from a hydrant farther away. Residents wonder if the fire could have been put out sooner.