Officials warn against opening fire hydrants to stay cool

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MILWAUKEE -- Wednesday, June 20th marked the first official day of summer, though it's already felt like it, with temperatures in the 90s this week. Officials say with the hot weather, one of summer's most dangerous and illegal activities is in full swing.

Officials say when it gets hot, people open fire hydrants to cool off, which is illegal, and can be very dangerous. Officials say the extreme pressure of the water can pose a threat for kids playing in the street, and if a fire breaks out nearby, the open hydrant, sapped of water, could spell disaster.

"If the pressure has dropped considerably and a firefighter goes to hook up a hose to that hydrant and he can't fight a fire, that could have devastating impacts on our community," Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy said.

16 fire hydrants were opened in Milwaukee on Tuesday, June 19th alone. The city's water works department has installed thousands of hydrant locks, but that only takes care of part of the problem.

Officials say those that illegally open hydrants face up to a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail.

Even without the water, officials say children are still running around unsupervised.

"The few minutes you may leave your child unattended may be those few minutes that creates a tragedy," Milwaukee Fire Captain Ron Firnrohr said.

Shirley Riley is no stranger to the dangers children face during the summer. As a mother of four, and grandmother of 13, she's spent years looking after kids focused on only one thing -- fun in the water.

"Just give them a lot of love and show them a lot of affection and just watch them," Riley said.

There are a number of cool spots set up throughout the city of Milwaukee where kids can go to cool down.

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