Metal thieves endanger Holloway estate residents by snatching vital fire hydrant valves

PUBLISHED: 11:05 18 May 2012

The Harvist Estate. Photo by Christopher Sweeney

The Harvist Estate. Photo by Christopher Sweeney


Thoughtless metal thieves potentially endangered lives on an estate by stealing brass fire hydrant valves that are used to tackle blazes.

A total of 22 valves from “dry riser” pipes that pump water up through the high rise blocks of the Harvist Estate in Holloway were swiped overnight on Wednesday May 9 last week.

Alarmed residents were left worrying what would happen if fire broke out.

Reginald Duke, an artist who lives in one of the estate’s four blocks, said the next morning: “Nearly all of them have been stolen and it does pose a fire risk. It’s a fire hazard and everyone is going to get worried now.”

Crews at Holloway Fire Station were warned and Islington Council officers leapt into action to get the valves replaced by the weekend, at a cost of about £6,000 – or £270 each.

Cllr Paul Convery, the council’s executive member for community safety, said: “Theft of this type is highly irresponsible and could potentially put lives at risk, as without the valves water can’t be delivered properly through the fire hydrants.

“Action was taken very quickly to replace the missing valves.

“Locks and bolts are being fitted on all new and existing valves on our estates to help prevent thefts.

“The local fire brigade was notified of the problem and arranged for additional resources to attend any call to Harvist Estate until all valves were replaced.

“I would like to see these culprits brought to justice for their deplorable behaviour and would urge anyone who has information on these thefts to contact the police.”

Rhys Powell, London Fire Brigade’s borough commander for Islington, said: “People stealing dry-risers is a serious problem.

“If these pieces of equipment are missing, it can cost our crews vital minutes when they arrive at fires in high rise blocks.”

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