Multiple drivers ran over a fire hose in South Vancouver on Friday, impacting an already tense effort to extinguish the flames in a two-alarm home fire.
Asst. Deputy Fire Chief Trevor Connelly said a driver eventually broke a supply line running from a fire hydrant to a truck.
“This is an extremely dangerous situation. We have crews in that building fighting that fire and relying on that water to keep them safe,” Connelly said.
“If they lose that water while they’re there, that’s catastrophic.”
The firefighter said they were lucky that the incident resulted in only a “partial outage” and that the supply line was still serviceable.
The fire broke out at a property near Ash Street and 61 Avenue around 9:30 a.m. while several people were inside the house. Authorities said it appears everyone got out safely and no firefighters were injured while putting out the flames.
Connelly said crews always do their best to avoid laying supply hoses across busy streets, but that was not possible during Friday’s effort.
“Today was one of those days when we had no choice but to place our snakes on a busy street, Cambie Street,” Connelly said. “A lot of cars – not just one or two, but a lot of cars – drove over our supply line and we need to let people know it’s extremely dangerous.”
Driving over fire hoses is also illegal, and Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services said it has asked police to track down the motorist who broke their supply line.
“Luckily, there are surveillance cameras in the area, so we’ll ask (the Vancouver Police Department) to pursue that,” Connelly said.
Frustrated firefighters have publicly recalled the dangers of running over hoses before, including in 2018, when a motorist ran over a supply hose in East Vancouver and ruptured it, sending a geyser of water into the air.
Authorities said the snake was worth about $1,000, but the fine for driving over it is just $81.
The cause of Friday’s fire has not been determined. Brandon Schell, a tenant who lives downstairs, told CTV News that the upstairs apartment is being renovated.
Schell said he heard about the fire when someone knocked frantically on the front door of the house.
“We were just listening to my Will Smith CD,” he said. “Someone knocked on the door and they said the fireplace, the chimney, the chimney was on fire.”
Schell said he has insurance but is still worried they could lose all their belongings in the fire.
“Everything we own is in the house,” he said. You can’t replace some things, can you?