Q: Will a fire hydrant shoot water skyward when hit by a car, just like in the movies?

Photographer and Date Unknown

A: It just depends...

In most of the eastern United States, hydrants are of the dry barrel type, and are built to break away if hit by a vehicle without flooding the area. Typically, no water will be released. However, older hydrants may not be of the "traffic" type, and will gush water.

In California, the situation is different. In the warm regions of California, most hydrants are of the wet barrel type, and most of these will create a geyser when hit, as seen in the photo above taken in Santa Cruz. However, some wet barrel hydrants are equipped with flapper valves that will shut if the hydrant is hit and remain dry.

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