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Hearing Set On Fire Hydrants

A D.C. Council committee will hold a public hearing on the maintenance and repair of fire hydrants by the DC Water and Sewer Authority, spurred by this week's fire that destroyed the home of arts patron Peggy Cooper Cafritz.

Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), chairman of the Committee on Public Works and Transportation, announced that he would hold an oversight hearing on Sept. 16.

The council goes into summer recess next week; public hearings are not permitted until the legislative body returns in September.

Since the July 29 fire, there has been fingerpointing by WASA and the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services about low water pressure -- a dispute similar to one in 2007 in an Adams Morgan blaze.

"There are very serious questions about available water pressure for that fire," Graham said in a news release from his office. "This oversight hearing will get facts on DCWASA and D.C. hydrants including those near the Cooper Cafritz residence."

By Nikita R Stewart  |  July 31, 2009; 4:09 PM ET
 
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Comments

I said it before when this incident happened how sad it was that Peggy or anyone experiences such a loss. But why does it have to take a mansion to burn to the ground before the complaints and the problems are addressed? This has been a problem all around the city. Before anything gets the attention of the "important" and "powerful", it got's to have a big story line, a great loss or somebody has to die first.

Posted by: candycane1 | July 31, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

The "low water" problem can NOT be a valid excuse. The Fire Department should be prepared to handle all the contingiencies. There is absolutely no reason why "low water pressure" would result in turning that mantion into a pile of ashes. Part of the problem is that the Fire Chief and Operations Chief have minimal experience in commanding fire ground operations. All of the experienced upper level officers have been driven into retirement by the current administration. Possible solutions that would have averted the total destruction of the mansion: prompt mutual aid from Montgomery County, additional water trucks (available from Fire/EMS), additional Fire and EMS resources, using the proper size hose, etc. It is not okay for the Fire/EMS Department, knowing that this is an issue, to sit on its hands and let the mansion burn to the ground (which honestly, it was it sounds like what happened).

Posted by: tm7333 | July 31, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

This is not the first time someone has had to lose everything because of a lack of accountability in Washington, DC. The fact of the matter is that each time something happens where the mayor is to be accountable, a hearing is held and things move on. As the entry above states, an inexperienced chief and operations chief have minimal experience in their jobs. There should have been some oversight. However, as in most departments of the current mayoral administration, inexperience with lack of oversight and accountability for the elected person who put all of them in place strikes again.

Candycane, right again. Nothing like a burned down house should happen to anyone but it had to happen to a person who is in a position to be noticed for action to be taken. And to think of how many wonderful and valuable things Peggy Cooper Cafritz has done for the city.

Posted by: southyrndiva | August 2, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

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