With Hydrants Open, Middletown Youth Find Heat Relief

The city opens select hydrants during the hot weather but says any unauthorized opening is a punishable offense.

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Scorching temperatures around the state had people looking for ways to escape the heat Tuesday. If people couldn’t find air-conditioning, they certainly tried to find water. In Middletown, water relief came in all forms ranging from swimming pools to fire hydrants.

By opening select hydrants around the city, Middletown Fire department continued a tradition that is now decades old.

“We don’t want to see anybody get hurt especially in this hot weather. So, stay safe but have a little fun as well,” said Middletown Fire Chief Robert Kronenberger.

Dousing themselves in refreshing fire hydrant spray, some were splashing and playing. Children were staying cool, the old-fashioned way.

“It’s just like a sprinkler but much colder,” said 8-year old Brea James of Middletown.

So, with the valves open and water gushing, these Middletown children were staying cool, enjoying a summer game with very few rules.

“You jump over, and then you run, and then you come back and you get wet,” explained 11-year old, Jadarious Manson.

Hydrants weren’t the only option in Middletown. With temperatures rising into the 90s as early as this morning, some families couldn’t wait to hit Veteran’s Memorial Pool.

“We were out riding bikes and playing with chalk this morning and we were sweating after five minutes,” Emily Schimelman, who brought her 3-year-old daughter Lila and 6-year-old son Gabriel to swimming lessons Tuesday morning.

David Smolowitz was there with his 4-year-old son Jackson getting a lesson and a reprieve from the heat

“We’re trapped inside, chained to the air conditioner so getting outside in the sun and the water is great,” added Smolowitz.

With Middletown pools open to residents only and reservations required, capacity has been smaller. Still, lifeguards say the heat has made the past two days very tough.

“We had to make sure we gave our guards a lot of breaks and make sure everybody was drinking water and, if nobody’s here, we’ll jump in the pool and cool off a little bit,” said lifeguard Ava Bankoski.

Across town, more people were seeking relief at Crystal Lake. Summer camp was in full swing with many campers splashing around.

With temperature expected to be high again Wednesday, the fire department did also issue a warning. They say to avoid any areas that are marked, “no swimming," especially the Connecticut River, which they say can be very dangerous.

“It’s very inviting but what’s happening on top of the river is not what’s happening underneath,” Kronenberger said.

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