City Not Liable for Damage by Apparatus

City Not Liable for Damage by Apparatus

In a case recently decided by the supreme court of Wyoming, it was declared that the municipality could not be held responsible for the acts of its fire department, unless so specified in its statutes. The plaintiff was driving his automobile along the streets of Casper, Wyo., when fire alarm was sounded. He attempted to draw up to curb as city ordinance required. But since no parking space along curb was available, he parked his car parallel with the curb and as close to other cars there parked as possible. Shortly thereafter fire truck struck plaintiff’s car. The plaintiff filed claim for damage to car and personal injuries, and brought suit when claim was rejected.

The plaintiff pleaded several additional facts, as a basis for holding city liable. (1) The fire truck was operated bv city employees at a high and dangerous speed at time of collision. (2) The fire was not in congested district, and the fire hazard did not justify speed. (3) The truck was driven through congested street, though the distance to fire was greater by this street. (4) The street had been recently sprinkled, and the driver of truck had sufficient time to avoid it. (5) The driver of truck had defective eyes, as was known to city. (6) The city had failed to enforce “30-minute” parking ordinance whereby plaintiff was deprived of parking space. (7) The driver had lost control of truck and did not slacken speed to regain control as he could have done (8) The fire alarm was so defective that it could not be heard in congested portion of city. The trial court entered judgment for the defendant city upon demurrer to the complaint which set out the above statements, thus holding that assuming all the statements could be proved, the plaintiff was not entitled to recover. The Supreme Court of Wyoming affirmed this judgment.

•The Court said: “And the decisions are nearly unanimous to the effect that, in absence of statutory provisions to the contrary, a municipality is exempt for injuries to persons or property resulting from malfeasance or non-feasance in the maintenance and operation of a fire department by such municipality. White v. City of Casper, 249 Pac. 562 (Wyo. 1926).

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