NB youth paints fire hydrants for Eagle Scout project

Nick O’Reilly is painting fire hydrants so firefighters can immediately know how much water can be pumped from the hydrant. This is for his Eagle Scout award. Photo supplied

By Elizabeth Sias, Isanti County News

Fire hydrants in North Branch will soon have a new look.

Nick O’Reilly, a tenth grader at North Branch Area High School and member of Boy Scout Troop 411, is color-coding fire hydrants to help firefighters.

Overall, the top half of 164 hydrants in North Branch will be painted blue, and three will be painted yellow.

The colors represent the size of the water main that leads to the hydrants, with blue being 10, 12 or 20 inch diameter, and yellow representing a 4-inch diameter.

The effort is the 16-year-old’s Eagle Scout project, the final requirement to become an Eagle Scout.

“When I was in eighth grade, my science teacher was the fire chief and they’ve been wanting to do this project for years,” O’Reilly said. “He promised it to me for an Eagle Scout project and I took it.”

He said it will help firefighters quickly determine how much water they can pump out at once.

On Saturday, O’Reilly painted 78 hydrants. He expects the project will be complete after just another day of work.

“It makes me feel great to help my community out and making firefighters’ jobs a whole lot easier,” he said. “I think it will help quite a bit in the long run.”

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