St. Louis Fire Department reminding residents not to park near hydrants

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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis firefighters are urging people to pay attention to where they are parking, especially if it is near a fire hydrant. You could end up with a ticket on your windshield, like two cars on Kensington Place, where firefighters said the cars created obstacles during a recent house fire.

“We did have two cars parked not directly in front of the hydrant, but there was maybe a foot-wide space between two cars that we were able to squeeze the hose through to the hydrant for our water source,” Battalion Chief Mike Killingsworth said.

Firefighters said they see more people parking in front of fire hydrants during the winter months.

“They get in a hurry, they get in a rush, and don’t want to drive the extra 10 or 20 feet to park in a legal spot. So, the first open spot is normally in front of a fire hydrant,” Chief Dennis Jenkerson said.

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The chief said, according to the city ordinance, they need 15 feet on either side of the hydrant.

“To be able to spot, position to correctly approach a fire to lay a four-inch line hooked at the hydrant to supply the truck and come off with our fire attack lines,” he said.

Jenkerson said parking in front of the hydrant may seem harmless, but it is a safety concern for firefighters and neighbors.

“It also provides a tremendous issue for people who might be trapped and still inside that building. That delays our entire response. Ten, 12, 15, 20 seconds is a big deal when you’re inside one of these buildings that is 6-7-8-900 degrees,” he said.

In more severe situations, Jenkerson said you could end up paying more than just a ticket.

“There’s times where we’ve gone to certain levels to get at that fire hydrant, which involves maybe breaking windows and opening doors to put our line through that car,” Jenkerson said. “It happens. We’re there to correct an issue—a fire in a building—to keep citizens safe and firefighters safe.”


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