Firefighters struggle to shut off a fire hydrant due to freshly paved asphalt blocking the water shut-off valve

Ventura+County+Fire+Department+Station+41+attempting+to+shut+off+the+water+after+a+car+runs+over+a+fire+hydrant+in+Simi+Valley%2C+CA.+on+Jan.+29%2C+2021.+Photo+credit%3A+Amber+Urban

Ventura County Fire Department Station 41 attempting to shut off the water after a car runs over a fire hydrant in Simi Valley, CA. on Jan. 29, 2021. Photo credit: Amber Urban

By Amber Urban

On Jan. 29 around 6 p.m. firefighters were called to a single vehicle traffic collision near Tapo Canyon Rd. and Royal Ave. The driver of the vehicle sustained no injuries.

When Ventura County Fire Station 41 first arrived on scene, they observed a vehicle that collided with a fire hydrant.

According to Firefighter Zack Tarkir, “the water was spewing around 30-40 feet high, so we made an ‘A’ frame over the shut-off valve that we found, to shield us from the water, so we can work.”

Ventura County Fire Department uses a ladder to make an ‘A’ frame over the shut-off valve to shelter them from the water.
Ventura County Fire Department uses a ladder to make an ‘A’ frame over the shut-off valve to shelter them from the water during an accident in Simi Valley, CA. on Jan. 29, 2021. Photo credit: Amber Urban

After 30 minutes, the water was still spewing from the ground. This was caused by a blocked water valve.

Tarkir states, “This street had recently been paved over and asphalt had gotten around the edges which makes removing the water shut-off valve very difficult.”

Firefighters used tools such as sledgehammers, chisels, and other fore able tools to remove the cover to get to the valve. After the water was shut-off, the fire department used a small jackhammer to hammer out the remaining asphalt that was on the cover.

Officer Brian Sarfaty with the Simi Valley Police Department relays, “sometimes the shut-off valve accidentally gets paved over but I’m not sure if that is what happened in this case.”

The SCWCO WATER cover, after Ventura County Firefighters manage to force it open.
The SCWCO WATER cover, after Ventura County Firefighters manage to force it open in Simi Valley, CA. on Jan. 29, 2021. Photo credit: Amber Urban

Once firefighters were cleared from the scene, Simi Valley Public Works and the Department of Water and Power arrived. They wished to remain anonymous but confirmed “the water shut-off valve was cemented over which made it difficult to access.”

Many of the current published City of Simi Valley contracts are expired and did not specify who covers the fire hydrants repair or installation.

After successfully shutting off the water, firefighters from Ventura County Fire Station 41 posed for a picture.
After successfully shutting off the water, firefighters from Ventura County Fire Station 41 posed for a picture in Simi Valley, CA. on Jan. 29, 2021. Photo credit: Amber Urban

Ventura County Fire Station 41 did an excellent job with the difficult task at hand. With poor visibility and sopping wet clothes, the firefighters overcame the frigid water that was pouring down on them at a rather quick pace. Before heading back to the station, the firefighters posed for the captain in a quick photo.