A California fire department recently sent a message to drivers who park in front of fire hydrants: don’t do it. You might not only get a ticket and towed, but your windows might get broken, too.
"Ever wonder what happens when a car is parked in front of a fire hydrant and a fire breaks out?" Anaheim Fire and Rescue wrote on Twitter on Feb. 26. "Is a closer parking spot worth the broken windows and the citation and towing fees... Please do not park in fire lanes."
The tweet followed an incident earlier that day when firefighters responded to a call that had broken out in the kitchen of an apartment. When they arrived on the scene and discovered the car parked in front of the hydrant, they had no choice but to smash the windows of the car and feed the hose through.
“It’s common for us to encounter people parked in front of fire hydrants,” said Anaheim Fire and Rescue spokesperson Daron Wyatt. “But it’s not necessarily common for it to happen when there’s a fire.”
Feeding the hose around the car — whether that's over it, under it or around it — would force the hose to crimp at the coupling where it attaches to the hydrant and restrict water from flowing through.
“If it was feasible to do other things, it wouldn’t be illegal to park in front of a fire hydrant,” said Wyatt.
The fire department's tweet, which featured images of the car with shattered windows, quickly went viral.
Wyatt said that the post was not intended to embarrass or humiliate the owner of the car, but rather educate the public about a critical issue and hopefully change parking behaviors.
According to the fire department, the vehicle was cited and ultimately towed because the registration fees had not been paid in over six months.