JTI Fountain Down Again With Broken Flow Switch, Police Say Vandalism is Possible

Danville, VA - The JTI fountain in Danville has seen some ups and downs since the city unveiled it earlier this year, but now someone has broken a flow switch that regulates the water level inside the fountain, and this is not the first time.

City officials don't know if it's an act of vandalism or a mistake - but this switch has been tampered with, rendering the fountain inoperable.

In a few short months, couples, families, even pets have enjoyed time at the fountain, but Chief Engineer Brian Dunevant says some may be getting too close.

"It's been broken several times in the last month or so. Definitely didn't intend on anybody actually getting in the fountain like what they are doing, " Dunevant said.

You'll often see children climbing into the water basin, which is very dangerous, due to the electrical wiring that powers the lights, and Dunevant says the water itself isn't ideal for playing in either.

"It's not a public swimming pool so it is not held to the same water quality standards. It is sanitized and it is checked regularly, but it is not checked as often as a swimming pool, " Dunevant said.

A few recent pranks in which someone mixed soap bubbles into the water resulted in hundreds of dollars in clean-up costs.

Police are reviewingsurveillancee video to get to the bottom of all the abuse the downtown fixture has taken.

"We've had several different incidents of damage to the fountain. Some of them could have been accidental, some of them could have been on purpose. We don't know yet until we look at all of them, " said Lt. Michael Wallace with the Danville Police Department.

Officials say the fountain was meant to draw more people, businesses, and events downtown and they love the attention it is getting, but they hope some of the excitement wears off before someone gets hurt.

"I guess it's just a novelty that people aren't used to having a fountain. People want to touch it, they want to get in it, and that creates problems like what we have, " Dunevant said.

Engineers hope to have the fountain's flow switch fixed on Wednesday. They are looking into placing a box around the switch to prevent public access to it.

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