Ornamental fire hydrants around the city must be moved for safety reasons.

On Jan. 10, the city of Apalachicola issued a letter requesting the owners of ornamental, nonfunctioning fire hydrants to move them off the street. Code Enforcement Officer Wilbur Bellew hand delivered the letters.

The hydrants, decommissioned city property donated in 2008 to the Franklin County Humane Society, were sold for $500 each as part of a fundraiser. Before the hydrants were resold, they were painted distinctive colors and furnished with a large sign so that they would not be confused with working hydrants,

But Bellew said they now pose a safety hazard, since many of the hydrants have lost their signs and are standing in places where they could be confused with the real thing. He said many of the businesses where the hydrants are displayed say they donít own them.

Bellew said that during the Nov. 2008 fire that destroyed the Apalachicola State Bank, an out-of-town fire company tried to hook a hose to one of the non-working hydrants, which fell over.

Those who have one of the Humane Society hydrants must move it off the sidewalk and place it inside a building or in a rear courtyard.

Bellew said he planned to return this week to remove any hydrants that remain in the public right-of-way. He said that hydrants removed by the city would be held briefly before disposal.

If you have questions about the hydrants, please contact Bellew at 323-0579. Ė By LOIS SWOBODA