Man charged for stealing hydrant water to fill swimming pool

A Hamilton County man is busted for stealing water from a fire hydrant to fill up his swimming pool. Soddy-Daisy Police charged him with Theft of Services. It's a crime local officials say likely happens more than they can prove.

Soddy-Daisy Police responded to Fritts Road where neighbors reported a man using fire hydrant water to fill his pool. He admitted it and now owes the water company several hundred dollars.

Fire officials hope this case serves as a warning to others they suspect are out there doing the same thing.

Soddy-Daisy Fire Chief Mike Guffey says it takes a special kind of wrench and hose adapter, but it's not hard to find one on the internet. That makes stealing water from fire hydrants not that uncommon.

"You might hear of one or two cases a year where somebody gets citedbut I think it happens a whole lot more than that," Soddy-Daisy Fire Chief Mike Guffey said.

Police recently cited a man for running a hose from a hydrant to his swimming pool. The District Attorney's Office and North West Utility District are requiring him to pay more than $600 in restitution.

"If they got water at the house, they should use their own water instead of stealing other people's water," one Soddy-Daisy resident said.

"Surprising to hear that somebody would actually steal the water," another Soddy-Daisy resident said.

"I think people think that if it's not coming from through their water meter that it's free water and it's not," Chief Guffey said, "stealing water is just like stealing a car from somebody. It's theft."

Chief Guffey says it's not only illegal, it's also dangerous to the culprit.

"There's enough pressure in these hydrants to rip these caps off and that can cause a lot of bodily damage to someone. It can fly and hit a car going down the road. It's not a safe thing to do. It's not a smart thing to do either," Guffey said.

He says it puts the whole water system at risk.

"If you open a hydrant too fast or shut it down too fast, you take a chance of blowing that line, sending the water hammer back through the system and causing a major water leak somewhere else," Guffey said.

He also says a few times every summer, they get a request for firefighters to fill up a resident's pool. He wants everybody to know it doesn't work that way.

"They have to make it, it has to be paid for. I mean the fire departments pay for what water we use during the year," he said.

In Soddy-Daisy, if someone damages a fire hydrant, the repair cost falls on the fire department.