Playing with fire: parking in front of fire hydrant backfires because of firefighters fighting fire

According to assistant fire chief Chuck Bezanson, the fire crew never hesitated to smash the windows.
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

Every once in a blue moon, the situation arises where a car has obstructed the path of a desperately needed fire hose. While just about everyone in North America knows that it’s illegal to park in front of a fire hydrant, some will continue to park directly in the way.

Generally, the thought process is, “Well, what are the odds that there’s going to be a fire, right in front of where I parked my car?”

For one person on Halifax’s South End, this is exactly what happened.

Firefighters had to smash through two vehicle windows in order to use an obstructed fire hydrant, threading the hose through the windows after a fire in a city strip mall.

According to assistant fire chief Chuck Bezanson, the fire crew never hesitated to smash the windows. “A couple of broken windows is a small price to pay for the life, safety, of firefighters inside of a building,” he said to CBC.

Some may wonder why the fire crew decided to go through the car, rather than go under or over. Bezanson explained to CTV why both of those options were out of the question.

“Going over the car would have totally destroyed the car. Just the weight of the hose would have crushed everything,” also stating that a hose shouldn’t be run under a vehicle out of fear that it may burst, causing much more damage to the car.

The fire sparked inside the basement of a U-haul facility after 5 pm, as all workers had already gone home for the day. The fire was put out after four hours.

As if having two of your windows justifiably smashed by public servants wasn’t bad enough, the driver was also given a parking ticket, despite the fact that a municipal parking sign near the fire hydrant indicated that it was alright to park there.

“Provincial legislation is going to supersede that municipal bylaw sign, so it is still illegal to park in front of a fire hydrant,” said Const. Amy Edwards with Halifax Regional Police to CBC.

“It comes down to public safety. You know, we have these rules and laws in place so that firefighters can get there and access the water that they need quickly to put out a fire. If they have to take extra time to work around vehicles or find owners that are blocking that water supply, it could endanger lives,” she said.

It’s happened before

A similar situation took place months earlier in the sunny city of Anaheim, California.

According to Anaheim FD, a similar situation arose, except this driver also had to pay towing fees.

“If it was feasible to do other things, it wouldn’t be illegal to park in front of a fire hydrant,” said spokesperson Daron Wyatt to ABC.

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Roberto Wakerell-Cruz
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