Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia firefighters battling Aylesford blaze find hydrant clogged with fish

'It was a first for all of us and there were four or five guys standing there'

Fish fire hydrant Aylesford

The Aylesford and District Volunteer Fire Department pulled apart this dry hydrant when no water came from it. This is what they discovered. (Submitted by Aylesford and District Volunteer Fire Department)

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Firefighters in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley found themselves facing a fishy situation Tuesday as they responded to the first grass fire of the season.

When fire crews tried to fill a pumper truck from a pond near the blaze on Aylesford Road, nothing came through the dry hydrant installed near the water's edge.

"We had a hard time getting any suction from the dry hydrant," said Shawn Carey, chief of the Aylesford and District Volunteer Fire Department. "We took it apart because we thought we might have had a gasket gone in one of our lines."

What they discovered next was totally unexpected.

"When we took it apart we found a bunch of fish that came up through the strainer and how they got in there is beyond me," said Carey. "It actually clogged off our pipe so we couldn't get any water."

'It was a first for all of us'

Carey said he's never seen anything like it.

"It was a first for all of us and there were four or five guys standing there and some of them have been firefighters for a long time and nobody had seen anything like that," he said.

"I know some fire departments in the area have had problems with salamanders in the dry hydrants, but never fish."

Carey estimates there were about a dozen fish sucked up from the pond. Some survived the ordeal and were put back in the water.

Firefighters reversed the flow of water. The next attempt to fill the pumper was successful and the crew went on to fight the grass fire.

"We're definitely wowed by what happened and the next fine day we're going to go up there and take a look to see if we can prevent it from happening again," said Carey. "There's a strainer on the top and on the bottom so we need to take a look and see how they got in there."

Carey said the fish-clogged hydrant did delay efforts to fight the blaze, and crews were lucky it was only a grass fire and not a house or other structure.

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