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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A fire hydrant missing for months was replaced Thursday after a nearby apartment fire earlier in the week sent firefighters looking for a backup hydrant.

It is repair work that some say was a long time coming.

Neighbors told NewsChannel 36 they d been complaining for months about the hydrant that was knocked out when someone ran into it. The fire department confirmed they also reported it missing last October.

But a spokesman for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities said they knew about the hydrant but weren t able to get to it because it wasn t a priority.

It s an issue of deciding where on the list of things we have to fix is the highest priority, said CMU s Cam Coley.

There are 49 hydrants citywide that are currently out of service. That s less than one percent of the more than 12,000 hydrants, but Coley admits some have been on the list to be fixed for a year.

Charlotte s Deputy Fire Marshall Jon Leonard said firefighters are trained to find another water source when that happens.

A year in our mind is ok, not for every hydrant, but occasionally if it goes a year, were prepared, Leonard said.

NewsChannel 36 wanted to know where the hydrants are missing and found the problem all over the city.

Fire station 14 on Sharon Amity Road has five missing in their area, Station 15 on Frontenac Avenue has four missing, Station 21 on Little Rock Road has five missing and Station 26 on South Tryon Street has another four that are out of service.

The spokesman for CMU said hydrants get fixed based on priority.

It depends if it s critical, if there are no other hydrants nearby, if it s close to critical facilities like a hospital, sensitive area we make that the highest priority. It s all about how many other hydrants are around it used for fighting fires and what else is going on, Coley said.

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