JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Officials in Jacksonville are investigating an incident where someone put soap in the Freedom Fountain as an act of vandalism.
WNCT’s Claire Curry spoke with Jacksonville City Manager Richard Woodruff about what happened. He told Curry someone put soap into the Freedom Fountain at some point before Wednesday morning. Suds foamed up in and around the Freedom Fountain before the water was turned off and five city crew members started cleaning it up around 8:15 a.m.
City of Jacksonville Information and Communications Specialist Kim Tilgham said the vandalism was caused by an undetermined type of soap which made the fountain overflow with suds when the jets automatically turned on at 7 a.m. All jets to the fountain were turned off while crews worked quickly to clean up and assess for any damage. The fountain is now back in working order.
Woodruff estimated the cost of clean-up would be $500 to $1,000. No damage has been detected at this point. The quick response by city crews prevented the foam from spreading to the roadway surrounding the fountain.
Woodruff said there was no permanent damage done to the fountain.
“From one standpoint, it is a prank,” Woodruff said. “That is not the way the City of Jacksonville looks at it. This is something that strikes at the heart of who we are.”
He also said city management is working with the Jacksonville Police Department to find who is responsible and prosecute them to the fullest. Woodruff said they are using video surveillance to try and identify the person who did this.
He said the Freedom Fountain was dedicated to those who have passed through the City of Jacksonville in service to our country and a symbol they are very proud of, so an act like this is not tolerated.