Thanksgiving Day, 2000. Just after 3 a.m. we get a call for a fire at an apartment complex. We are the second truck on scene, and it is fully involved. An entire section, just ripping with flames. The first engine lays supply line from the hydrant, which is 4 inch LDH, across the parking lot to the building on fire. After about 45 minutes of fighting, we get the fire knocked down. Thankfully the building was well-constructed, with an excellent fire wall between units, so we were able to contain the losses to only four apartments.

Our team had just been moved into rehab to cool down a bit, when I noticed a resident walking towards her vehicle, a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Behind her parking space was the main supply hose, which can not be run over under any circumstance. But I estimated she had enough room to back out and go out the side entrance without hitting the hose.

(Side Note: This hose was our main supply line, and though the main fire had been knocked down, we still had crews working inside)

So she proceeds to back out of her parking space (running over the hose once), pull forward (running over it a second time), swing left and pull out the main entrance (running over it a third time). Luckily we had the streets blocked by Sheriff's Deputies, so she couldn't immediately leave. I sprinted after her, in full gear, and yelled at the cop to stop her. The sight of a firefighter running at him got his attention, and he stopped her. I explained to him what had just happened, and he kindly pulled her out of the vehicle and wrote her three tickets totalling nearly $200 for failure to yield to the directons of a firefighter, and other charges. I asked her why she did that. She told me it was because she was late for work. *sigh*

Moral of the story? Emergency crews do things on scenes on purpose. The big fire truck is blocking the road because we have a helicopter about to land there. We have a section of sidewalk roped off because part of the building could collapse there at anytime. All we ask is that you let us do our jobs. If you want to watch what is going on, feel free to watch from a safe distance, out of our way. Don't come up to us and offer tips about how you would do it if you were still with your department. Pay attention to the scene, and think about how your actions could put you or the crews on scene in danger.

And don't run over fire hose.