A fire hydrant. Don’t park your BMW in front of it. How many times do we have to tell you?
One Boston BMW owner learned his fire hydrant parking lesson the hard way Wednesday night when he made the mistake of slotting his shiny new Beemer into an available spot on Lexington Street in the East Boston neighborhood — and apparently not caring that the spot was available because it was actually occupied by a fire hydrant.
Now, chances are, parkers in major cities where spaces are at a premium choose to take the risk of parking in fire hydrant spots every day, simply hoping that the parking enforcement police don’t come calling with their trusty ticket pads.
In this case, that did happen. But so did an eight-alarm fire that eventually displaced about 30 people from their homes — and injured two Boston firefighters in the process. The fact that it was just two weeks ago that two Boston firefighters lost their lives battling a nine-alarm blaze in Boston’s Back Bay seemed to mean nothing to this BMW owner.
Firefighters knew that they could not simply string their hose over the top of the car. To properly affix it to the fire hydrant would create a fold in the hose that would slow the flow of potentially life-saving water that firefighters would use to douse the blaze.
They had no choice but to smash the windows of the BMW to string the hose through the car and reach the fire hydrant.
See what happens when you park in front of a fire hydrant and firefighters need water: pic.twitter.com/wJ9tc4rI2J
— WESH 2 News (@WESH) April 11, 2014
Even then, the hose still could not reach the hydrant without a slight kink, but that too was constricting the water supply — so firefighters were forced to waste precious time physically lifting the parked car and moving it a foot or so, enabling the hose to pass straight through the smashed-in windows to the hydrant.
“The general reaction is that some people find humor in it,” Boston Fire Department spokesperson Steve MacDonald told The Boston Globe newspaper “It’s really a serious situation. That water supply is the lifeblood of the engine company. The engine carries 750 gallons – and that could be gone in just two minutes. With that number of alarms, every hydrant is important. There is really nothing funny about it.”
The driver, who cold not be reached by Boston news media but was spotted at the scene sitting on a curb with his head in his hands in apparent despair, received a $100 ticket. An insurance expert told The Boston Herald newspaper that the broken glass would likely be taken care of by the BMW owner’s insurance company.
The Fire Department spokesperson MacDonald had a simple message for anyone else thinking of parking in front of a fire hydrant. “It’s just something you don’t do.”
Image: Twitter @pictureboston