Use of hydrants results in tickets for firefighters

Friday, December 7, 2001

REPUBLIC, Mo. -- A feud over using water from hydrants has resulted in two Southwest Missouri firefighters being ticketed.

Eric Hill and Chase Malen, volunteers with Brookline Fire Protection District, were ticketed after they allegedly refilled their truck with about 100 gallons of water from a Republic hydrant last summer after dousing a grass fire just outside the city limits.

Brookline Fire Chief Larry McConnell admits Republic -- which has become increasingly aggressive about protecting its water supply -- warned his firefighters about using city hydrants without permission.

As a result, Hill and Malen were accused of tampering with a fire hydrant, prohibited in an ordinance last year by the Republic Board of Aldermen.

The offense could cost them up to $500 in fines. Both have pleaded innocent. McConnell said they would fight the charges.

Hill and Malen are believed to be the first firefighters charged with the violation.

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