For the third time in January, a driver in British Columbia has run over a fire hose while a nearby building burned, prompting local fire officials to call for increased awareness of the dangers and legal ramifications of such an act.
On Thursday morning, a fire broke out at a city storage facility containing gas and fertilizer in Burnaby. As firefighters battled the fire, a passing car ran over the hose.
“If there (are) people in the building, you run over the hose, we lose our water supply,” Burnaby’s acting assistant fire chief, Barry Mawhinney told reporters following the fire.
“You’re putting people’s lives in danger.”
Two hours later, another car ran over a fire hose, this time at a fire near the University of British Columbia.
Last week, a similar incident resulted in a Vancouver firefighter suffering injuries to his lower body after a driver ran over a fire hose and dragged it down the street. The hose tore in half and whipped across the road, knocking the firefighter over. He was transported to hospital and is still recovering.
“We reached out to him today and he’s still in a lot of pain,” Brian Godlonton, a deputy chief with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, told CTV Vancouver. “We understand–as we knew the day of–he’s got extensive lower-body injuries and he’s going to be off for what we understand is going to be and extended period of time.”
Godlonton said at the time of the incident that if the water had been on in this case, the results could have been catastrophic.
“That hose, depending on the distance between the hydrant and the fire truck, would have literally just been left out of control and taking out anything in its way.”
Godlonton said if a fire hose is blocking a roadway, drivers should stop and wait for instructions from a firefighter.
Driving over a hose is not only dangerous, it’s also illegal in British Columbia. If a police officer witnesses it or if firefighters can prove it happened, the driver could face an $81 fine.
Godlonton would like to see the fine increased so that people think twice before driving over a hose.
“Eighty-one dollars to drive over a hose, considering the amount of risk that’s put on all first responders—in not just the duties that they’re doing, but the safety of what they’re doing—is clearly not enough.”