Parked Car Blocking Hydrant Hinders Seattle Firefighters

SEATTLE, Washington—A careless driver created a major headache today for Seattle firefighters by parking a car in front of a hydrant at the site of a commercial structure fire.

Crews arrived at Pius Kitchen & Bath (2462 1st Ave. South) in the SoDo district at approximately 9 a.m. The first unit to arrive had an obstacle to get around before it could begin spraying.

“We needed that hydrant and a car was parked in front of it,” fire department spokesman Kyle Moore said. “It delayed the response to get water to the fire.”

Firefighters were forced to lift the hose over the car, after hooking it up to the hydrant. There wasn’t much space to maneuver, Moore said.

Though they don’t prefer to damage property, firefighters will smash windows of a car parked in front of a hydrant, Moore said.

“If it’s the difference between saving someone’s life and saving a large-scale building, we’ll do what it takes to get water to the scene,” Moore said.

Though they spared the vehicle’s windows, Moore said there were people in the building when they originally received the call. Employees and customers were able to evacuate before crews arrived.

A faulty ventilation fan caused the fire. The fan pushed smoke and fire through the building, Moore said.

The fire caused about $10,000 in damage to the building and between $50,000 and $55,000 in damages to the contents of the building, Moore said.

Law enforcement didn’t completely ignore the car. The Seattle Police Department issued a $42 citation and impounded the car for being illegally parked.