311 fire hydrant toronto

Toronto fire hydrant left running for days and nobody seemed to care

Canada may rank fourth in the world of countries by total renewable water resources, but that doesn't mean we get to leave the taps running for days.

This was precisely what happened near a busy Toronto park this week, where a fire hydrant was left spewing water into the streets for days before anyone bothered to report it to the city.

It's a muddy mess at the east edge of Barbara Hall Park in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood due to at least two days of constant flow from the unchecked hydrant.

A tweet showing the ankle-deep water was directed at and caught the attention of both 311 and Ward 13 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. All as — in the words of the tweet — "the planet is literally burning."

The original video's poster, Twitter user David Lussier, expressed surprise that nobody had reported the flowing hydrant in over 48 hours. In an area of the city known for its dedicated community involvement in municipal matters, his surprise is warranted.

Toronto's 311 service confirmed that this was, in fact, the first report, despite its obstruction of a sidewalk right at the park's east entrance.

Councillor Wong-Tam also expressed surprise that nobody had taken the time to report the situation. This park is a popular neighbourhood pillar and has been used as the site of vigils and other events by the LGBTQ+ community, yet it took days for a report to come in.

blogTO reached out to 311 for a more detailed explanation of how these issues are addressed.

"For fire hydrants, we investigate within four hours [of a call] and then repair leaks as soon as possible. It really depends on the extent. We're coming up to that timeframe now, so someone should be on the scene already or very soon," a 311 representative says.

"They always repair as soon as possible. Sometimes they'll need a specialized crew, but we always try to get it fixed quickly."

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