Have any fires ever gotten out of control due to people parking in fire lanes?

I’m searching for stories about fires that have gotten out of control, have been worse, or have burned down buildings because people parked in fire lanes and this hindered fire fighters.
Not that I’m really glad when it happens, but I need some evidence that when people park in fire lanes it could be a major hazard.

We don’t have fire lanes in the UK (to my knowledge), and there never seems to be any real problems

A firefighter friend told me that when they went to a fire and found a car parked that limited their access to the hydrant, they hooked it up to the firetruck and dragged it out of the way.

I would think that if a vehicle was found in the fire lane anywhere, the firefighters wouldn’t watch the building burn, but would handle it in the same way.

Thing to remember. Fire apparati are BIG. If insufficent space is allowed they might not be able to even get into the parking lot of a major business and such. Imagine what it would be like for this to plow its way through a walmart parking lot without areas designed for it. Fresno, CA has two of this model truck and they have lots of places (especially apt complexes) where they have to back out the entire way because they cannot turn around in the space provided. Without parking restrictions in many areas fire engines would not be able to get anywhere near a fire.

I would agree with Nut: if it’s in their way, they’ll make it not in their way.

Similarly with people parked in front of fire hydrants.

And, for an example of what can happen if you park in front of a fire hydrant, I give you:

this gem


<< Computer hackers do it all night long. >>

Heh: great minds think alike, chriszarate, ya beat me to it! (Silly slow connection!)

Ya beat me to it **chriszarate[/].

Thats pretty bad there, they have to stop and drag the car away. I found some neato pics here that show them smashing through cars that are in their way:

While they wouldn’t watch a fire burn, they still have to take time dealing with a car in their way, such as breaking the windows or towing it away. Add into that the chaos of people running out of a burning building and getting in the firefighers way trying to move their illegally parked cars.

Well crap. That link I posted has that picture too.

I am not alone :smiley:

I don’t know how accurate it is, but the firefighters in Backdraft seemed to show some sadistic glee in breaking the windows of a car parked in front of a hydrant. :slight_smile:

There are two big reasons for having fire lanes.

The first one, as already stated above, is to allow acccess for firefighters and apparatus. Getting hose into a building isn’t as big deal, since I can make a hose as long as I want (to an extent). The true problem comes with ladders…I can’t make a ladder any longer than it already is. If there are cars parked right up to the building, I can’t get a ladder to the roof or an upper floor. With an aerial it’s not as much of an issue, but its still a rather long delay in getting the roof open or someone out of the building.

The other problem is that of building evacuation. Fire lanes are maintained by exits over any other part of the building. Have you ever noticed that at WalMart there are bollards (the big pipes filled with concrete that you don’t want to bump into with your car) in front of the doors? Those are to stop vehicles from blocking the exits. In the history of large-loss-of-life fires, several have had exits blocked by vehicles as a major contributing factor. The Cocoanut Grove in 1942 rings a bell as having an exit blocked by a delivery truck, but I’m not 100% sure about that.

There are exemptions in the more major fire codes for reducing or elimintating some fire lanes if the building is completely sprinkled. In theory, if your sprinklers control the fire in its early stages, the fire department will have time to get around obstructions, won’t have to open the roof, and the occupants will have adequate time to escape. In theory.

Bump up for the Saturday crowd. Surely there must be some fires that have gotten worse due to fire lane abuse. I’ve been google searching a lot and can’t find anything!

Keep in mind that the size of a fire doubles about every 30 seconds <with the proper fuel,oxygen etc> So even an extra minute or two in dealing with an obstruction almost by definition increases the spread of the flames and the extent of the damage.

I’d pretty much like to second what Jeremy said. In addition, in my township, we only have about 25% hydrant coverage. So, for some areas we not only need to get the engine in to the scene, we also have to set up drop tanks and get tanker trucks in and out fairly quickly to keep an adequate water supply.

St. Urho