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  1. #1
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    Is it legal for firefighters to smash your....

    car windows if you parked illegally next to a hydrant to get access for there hoses? I told my girlfriend that they can but now I'm starting to second guess my answer to her question. And if it is, lets say a officer parked a squad car for whatever reason next to a hydrant, they can do they same right? Not implying that officers regularly do this but hey anyone, civilian or officer is capable of doing this. I guess she saw the movie Backdraft
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    I don't know if it's legal or not, but if I was dumb enough to park in front of a fire hydrant when it was needed, I'd be more worried about my job than the car windows. Also, if you park in front of a fire hydrant, then you're breaking the law (at least here you are)... That's enough to get a citizen's complaint around here...

    I am interested to see the legality of this though...

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    It probably is legal, but even if it isn't.....I'm not taking the complaint.

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    I'd say that it's probably not necessarily "legal." But I can't see the case going anywhere. There's nothing, at least in this state, that says that a person who parks in front of a hydrant is subject to having their car broken into and having a hose strung through it.

    I'd certainly not file any charges on any firefighter for doing it...

  5. #5
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    We had that exact same incident here when officers went to a fire. The FF had an axe to grind with the PDs and broke out the windows to run a hose instead of asking of the officers to move it. It was all handled internally and that is way it should be done.
    With that story aside we all have a job to do and it shouldn't be a ****ing contest between agencies.
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  6. #6
    An Obvious problem
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    The act of smashing out a car's windows is vandalism, aka malicisous mischief. The requirement for criminal prosecution is malice. There is no malice when a firefighter breaks out the windows of a car in order to access a fire hydrant, just like when they break out the windows of a burning building or cut holes in the roof to vent it. In actuality they are serving the greater good.

    Besides if you're dumb enough to park in front of a hydrant you deserve to have your windows busted out. Or even worse you can do like one of my trainees did and run over the hydrant at a scene of a fire. I had to tell her shooting water 100 feet in the air half a block from a fire was not an effective tool and tends to **** off the fire dept.
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    With the understanding that this isn't "ask a firefighter" why would you want to break out windows to string a hose through the car? Wouldn't draping it over the car or fishing it under the car still get it to the hydrant but not subject it to broken safety glass bits being ground into it plus having to deal with the paperwork for the destroyed windows?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CruiserClass View Post
    With the understanding that this isn't "ask a firefighter" why would you want to break out windows to string a hose through the car? Wouldn't draping it over the car or fishing it under the car still get it to the hydrant but not subject it to broken safety glass bits being ground into it plus having to deal with the paperwork for the destroyed windows?
    While I am not advocating breaking any windows or damaging property speed and efficiency are important factors for firefighters. If they were to drape the hose over the car it could cause kinks in the fire hose and cause greater friction loss which means less GPM / pressure for the firefighters attacking the fire. Depending on the size of the supply lines and the clearance of the vehicle could also be a issue as far as placeing the hose under the vehicle. Either way a car blocking a fire hydrant is going to have an effect on efficiency. Every firefighter has a job on a fire apparatus. Usually one firefighter is assigned the job of "catching the fire hydrant". That FF has to jump out the truck, grab the supply line, (ussually 4" or 5" in diameter or LDH), hydrant wrenches and pull the hose off the truck and to the hydrant. The FF wrapps the hose around the hydrant and gives a signal for the driver to drive to the fire scene. Once the truck starts moving the FF begins to connect the hose to the hydrant. Before doing that he first must or should flush the hydrant by removing the end cap and turning the vavle on allowing the water to flow momentarily. He then closes the valve, connects the hose and signals the pump operator or engineer at the fire apparatus that the hose is connected. The engineer will then give the signal to turn the hydrant on. After turning on the hydrant the FF then has to go along the supply hose and take out any kinks in it. Now imagine how much more time and man power it would take to contend with a car blocking the fire hydrant. Also keep in mind that the average city fire apparatus only holds about 500 gallons to 1,000 gallons of water. depending on the method of attack on the fire that water can be used up in about 2 minutes or less. Depending on the structure and fire load in the building the structure can burn to the ground in a very few short minutes.
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    If someone came to me about this issue and wanted to file a complaint on fire dept I would take the complaint and also issue a ticket. But like ptlcop said. I dont think the case will go anywhere. IMO if it is illegal, it shouldnt be. Park at your own risk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD11pilot View Post
    car windows if you parked illegally next to a hydrant to get access for there hoses? I told my girlfriend that they can but now I'm starting to second guess my answer to her question. And if it is, lets say a officer parked a squad car for whatever reason next to a hydrant, they can do they same right? Not implying that officers regularly do this but hey anyone, civilian or officer is capable of doing this. I guess she saw the movie Backdraft
    I'd say it's the firefighter's equivalent to a police officer using deadly force. If it's in the immediate defense of life and a raging inferno is going on down the street, seconds count. If they have to push your car with an engine, bust the windows, or whatever it takes to get connected to the hydrant, they could articulate that they did so to possibly save someone's life. There is a reason for red curbs next to fire hydrants and it really doesn't mean Police preferred parking.

  11. #11
    Retired Sergeant - CHP
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    Not only is it legal, your car may be towed and stored afterwards!!!





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    Quote Originally Posted by SgtCHP View Post
    Now, THAT'S funny.

    $10 says somebody on the FD pulled rank to break out those windows.
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    If you park at a hydrant then you should get your stuff busted! If my house is on fire and I have to watch it burn while some jagoff tries to find his keys to move his car, Im gonna be p-o'd! Bust em out...good lesson for stupid behavior!
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    Probably not "legal" in the narrow technical definition of the term, but,
    Look again at all the absolutely wonderful photographs, and figure that possibly, just possibility, these fires involved threats to lives/safety. That more than justifies the damage to the vehicles. No doubt the ACLU would have a differing view, unless the fire were at their local offices. Lord, they'd probably still pitch a fit. Anyway it's great to see Firefighters doing their job, despite the stupidity of some "motorists".

  15. #15
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    It has nothing to do with a law that says "firefighters can/cannot break windows". If they need the hydrant it's an emergency that is more important than your windows. They're not going to let a building burn to save your car windows.

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    With pics you can clearly see how hard it would be for the FFs to put the hose above or under the vehicle without going through the windows.

  17. #17
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    I've had more than one firefighter tell me that they would either smash the car out of the way (depending on if the truck was new or not) or put the hose through the windows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mdrdep View Post
    The act of smashing out a car's windows is vandalism, aka malicisous mischief. The requirement for criminal prosecution is malice. There is no malice when a firefighter breaks out the windows of a car in order to access a fire hydrant, just like when they break out the windows of a burning building or cut holes in the roof to vent it. In actuality they are serving the greater good.

    Besides if you're dumb enough to park in front of a hydrant you deserve to have your windows busted out. Or even worse you can do like one of my trainees did and run over the hydrant at a scene of a fire. I had to tell her shooting water 100 feet in the air half a block from a fire was not an effective tool and tends to **** off the fire dept.
    It's called "legalized vandalism"...just like when they used the axe to vent your roof during a fire.

    ....and for god's sake don't run over their hose!!
    This profession is not for people looking for positive reinforcement from the public. Very often it can be a thankless job and you can't desire accolades, because those are not usually forthcoming. Just do your job to the best of your ability and live with the decisions you've made.

  19. #19
    Molon Labe
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    They will do it in a heartbeat here in LA......either that or pull their multi-ton pumper up behind your westsider BMW, and push it out of the way......which doesnt do the BMW much good.....

    I have seen them do both......one of several reasons why parking in front of a meter was an instant tow away if I happened to see it.
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    ... ... ...
    Last edited by rfburns; 08-31-2011 at 10:53 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by westside popo View Post
    If they were to drape the hose over the car it could cause kinks in the fire hose and cause greater friction loss which means less GPM / pressure for the firefighters attacking the fire. Depending on the size of the supply lines and the clearance of the vehicle could also be a issue as far as placeing the hose under the vehicle.
    I done went and learnt me something in this here thread, I sho nuff did.

  22. #22
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    Another to show why it'd be difficult to run under or over the car... the kinks make it difficult.


  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CruiserClass View Post
    With the understanding that this isn't "ask a firefighter" why would you want to break out windows to string a hose through the car? Wouldn't draping it over the car or fishing it under the car still get it to the hydrant but not subject it to broken safety glass bits being ground into it plus having to deal with the paperwork for the destroyed windows?
    5" hose, which is what gets hooked up to the hydrant, is massive.. When it fills with water it will naturally straighten, and being that close to a car would likely kink off those hose enough to stop or at the very least severely restrict the movement of water.

    I don't know the answer to the original question.
    Seriously, the only reason I wanted to be a cop was so I could post anywhere on this forum.

  24. #24
    An Obvious problem
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    I also like when the connection at the hydrant leaks a little and sprays the whole inside of the car with water.
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  25. #25
    Flaps 35 please
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    Thanx for the response guys, I never park where I'm not allowed to, in fact there is a place where I would like to see a yellow curb added because coming out of that street, it is impossible to see if traffic is coming due to parked cars/SUV's blocking my view. (T intersection)
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