07/24/2019 15:20 EDT | Updated 07/29/2019 22:40 EDT

Halifax Firefighters Break Through Car Windows To Access Fire Hydrant

Parking 101: not in front of a fire hydrant.

HFX's Worst Parking/Twitter
Firefighters smashed in the windows of a parked Subaru SUV in Halifax that blocked access to a fire hydrant.

A motorist in Halifax has learned firefighters will do whatever it takes to get water in an emergency.

Photos of the Nova Scotia first responders went viral this week, showing them run a hose through a vehicle that was parked too close to a fire hydrant.

To make this possible, the back windows of a brown Subaru SUV had to be destroyed.

Halifax Fire and Emergency assistant chief Chuck Bezanson told a local radio station this is something he hadn’t seen in 35 years on the job. 

“Getting some water to the fire was rather critical,” he told News 95.7′s The Sheldon MacLeod Show, as reported by Halifax Today. “Going through the car was the only option they had at the time.”

According to the City of Halifax, vehicles parked within five metres of a fire hydrant may be ticketed or towed. 

Some people on social media pointed out there might have been a reason the driver thought it was alright to park there. City councillor Matt Whitman tweeted a photo of the sign besides the hydrant, which shows a two-hour parking limit between 8 to 6 p.m.

Another resident, Karen Ware, brought up a photo of the hydrant she had taken two years ago, which shows it almost covered over by grass. Some residents are wondering if the hydrant was hard to see before the driver parked in front of it, and before the grass around it had been pushed down.

Though for most, the situation seems black and white. Many are pointing out that not parking in front of a hydrant is “common sense” and one of the main things drivers learn when they get a licence.

Bezanson defended the fire department’s choice to smash through a window instead of dragging the pipe underneath the car or over top. He said although it was dramatic, it probably did less damage.

“It’s probably a more economic solution than dragging a big, fat, heavy fire hose laden with gravel and dirt from the street over top of somebody’s paint,” he told Halifax Today. “In which case they’d probably have to paint the entire vehicle.”

Either way, besides being a refresher on traffic laws for the city, the hydrant issue also managed to bring Haligonians together.

As for the unfortunate owner of the now smashed-out Subaru SUV, a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality told Halifax Today he could file a claim with his insurance company.

The fire department will then investigate to check if they were negligent in handling the case. But they had a pretty good motive — a big fire to put out.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had an embedded photo of the hydrant covered in grass, which resident Gaetan Tremblay said was taken “a few weeks ago.” The photo was, in fact, posted by Karen Ware and taken two years ago. 

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