RICHWOOD — The city is reimbursing the volunteer fire department for damages caused when its station flooded during the installation of a fire hydrant.

Richwood City Council approved an amendment to fiscal year’s 2019-20 budget to allocate $15,596 to the fire department during Monday’s meeting at City Hall.

“When reviewing the budget, it became apparent to me that $15,000 and change that was reimbursed to the city for damaged items from the flood back in May was not actually added into (the fire department’s) budget,” Interim City Manager Lindsay Koskiniemi said.

The station flooded during the fire hydrant replacement in May, caused by an unmapped water line beneath the building, Koskiniemi said. When the valves were turned on to test the new hydrant, the water line ruptured and caused the station to flood.

Several inches of water infiltrated the station on Halbert Street, damaging items on the floor.

“It was pretty expensive damage,” Koskiniemi said. “It involved having Servpro come out and clean up the building and dry it. Unfortunately, there were some air packs and other items … that got wet.”

The most devastating loss for the volunteer firefighters was losing their centralized meeting point after renovations forced them out of the building for a time.

The total reimbursement for damages and cleanup was about $86,000, and $15,596 covered the depreciated equipment items, she said.

“I do not think that they will be able to replace everything that they have lost,” Koskiniemi said. “However, I think that they will be able to get some updated equipment, and they will be able to replace some things that have needed replacing for a while.”

In other business, council met with consultant Chris Hartung behind closed doors to discuss the search for a city manager.

After emerging from the executive session, Mayor Steve Boykin announced the city wasn’t going to take action and Hartung will continue his efforts.

Some candidates are scheduled to be interviewed in person Jan. 25, Koskiniemi said.

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