Energizer shoveler to the rescue

Saukville man digs out one hydrant and then keeps going and going

MATT PETERS STOOD BY a fire hydrant he cleared of snow on Tuesday following Monday’s blizzard. Peters estimated he dug out 45 or so fire hydrants over the last few days. At right, Mark Prom used a snowblower to clear his mother’s driveway. Saukville got over a foot of snow this week on top of last week’s blizzard. Photos by Sam Arendt
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

Matt Peters’ effort to help his apartment complex on North Dries Street dig out of last week’s blizzard escalated into a crusade to clear fire hydrants so Saukville firefighters would more easily have access in case of an emergency.

When it was all over, he estimated, that he uncovered more than 40 Saukville fire hydrants.

“I was off work so I shoveled my apartment’s walkway and sidewalk and saw the fire hydrant nearby and decided to shovel it out too,” Peters said. “And then I saw the next one. I thought I would do a couple more near where I lived, and I ended up doing the whole neighborhood.”

He wasn’t done.

The next day Peters shoveled out fire hydrants near Saukville Elementary School and Grady Park, then along Dekora Avenue from Railroad Street east to the Milwaukee River bridge and to the Saukville public works building on South Main Street.

Peters posted pictures on social media of himself clearing out hydrants with messages reminding residents they are responsible for doing the same thing on hydrants near their homes.

That earned him a few days of fame as Milwaukee TV stations flocked to get video of Peters at work. 

One TV station named him their “Person of the Week” and the Saukville Fire Department gave him a digital pat on the back on Facebook.

Peters, a customer service representative at U-Haul Moving and Storage in Saukville, said he has friends who are firefighters and knows how important clearing hydrants is.

“You may feel overwhelmed with the task of trying to shovel out your property,” he wrote on Facebook, “but every second is precious when it comes to fighting a fire.

“By taking a couple of minutes to clear out the snow around your nearest hydrant, it could mean the difference between life and death.”

Peters also offered to help elderly people shovel their sidewalks and driveways.

Peters was back at it this week as Saukville got more than a dozen inches of snow, along with the rest of Wisconsin, followed by Arctic temperatures.

Peters, who grew up in Fredonia but has lived in Saukville off and on for the last few years, said his effort paid off recently when a small fire broke out in the basement of a building near where he lives and the fire department was called.

“No one had to shovel out the hydrant,” he said.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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