This was a fortunate fact for residents of Fawn View Lane Friday afternoon. When a Crawfordsville motorist left the roadway and took out a fire hydrant near the intersection of Deer Field Drive, there was no spout of water or flooded street, just several quarts of oil and a lot of torn-up sod.
At around 1 p.m., Derek Thomas, 24, was southbound on Fawn View in a 2000 BMW 328i. Thomas said he was unfamiliar with the area and got off the road, before overcorrecting and losing control in the grass.
The hydrant, carrying with it about two feet of underground pipe, came to rest in the southeast corner of the yard in a mess of dirt, grass and motor oil.
Thomas's car continued south before it came to a stop back in the roadway, just south of the Deer Field intersection.
Greencastle Police officer Ed Wilson said speed was likely a factor in the accident, although there is no way to be sure.
Thomas was treated at the scene by Operation Life for minor complaints of pain caused by the deployment of his airbag.
Estimated damages from the accident are in excess of $5,000.
GPD officers Darrel Bunten and Jeff Modlin assisted at the scene. The Greencastle Fire Department performed cleanup of the loose dirt and leaking oil caused by the accident.
A passing neighbor expressed to the firefighters his surprise there was not a spout of water. However, this is not generally the case in Indiana, as the valves for hydrants are buried at least three feet underground.
In areas prone to freezing weather, hydrants utilize the "dry barrel" hydrant concept in which the valve is buried beneath the frost line.
"In our situation here in Indiana, there is a valve way down in the ground," GFD chief Bill Newgent said. "When we turn the hydrant on, it turns that stem which opens the valve at least three feet in the ground."
This also makes for less of a cleanup for firefighters, utility workers and neighbors should an accident of this type occur.
"In the movies, it looks great, but normally that's not the case," Newgent said.