Halifax commuter learns hard lesson about not parking in front of a hydrant

Halifax firefighters smashed illegally parked car window to gain access to fire hydrant
WATCH: A structure caught fire on Green Street in Halifax on Monday, prompting fire officials to break out window of car parked in front of fire hydrant. Whitney Middleton-Ocikle reports.

When firefighters responded to a building on Green Street Monday for a structure fire, they found an SUV blocking access to the only fire hydrant on the street.

Chuck Bezanson, assistant fire chief for Halifax Fire and Emergency, says that when there’s an emergency, time is of the essence. But it didn’t make it any less shocking.

“Honestly, in my 35 years as a firefighter in [Halifax Regional Municipality] I have never encountered anybody parked in front of a hydrant at a fire when the hydrant was needed to be used,” said Bezanson.

“They did actually try to go under, but due to the way the car was parked there was no way to get to the hydrant. We don’t have an unlimited supply of water so one of the most important things we do is have a sustainable supply of water when we fight fires.”

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READ MORE: Halifax firefighters contain large building fire on Green Street

As a result, firefighters had to take matters into their own hands — by smashing out the windows of the vehicle to gain access to the hydrant.

Signs in front of the hydrant indicate parking is allowed for up to two hours.

But Brendan Elliott, a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), said that’s not accurate.

“Regardless of the parking zone signage that you may see, if you see a fire hydrant, you can’t park there,” said Elliott.

The hydrant was installed after the sign, which why there may have been some confusion.

WATCH: Nova Scotia firefighters return from Ontario as forest fires stopped expanding

Nova Scotia firefighters return from Ontario as forest fires stopped expanding
Nova Scotia firefighters return from Ontario as forest fires stopped expanding

But Elliott says they will move the sign to make the rules clearer.

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“From our perspective, we did the right thing, firefighters did the right thing,” he said. “The sign does look like it does need to be repaired so we will be going and removing that sign and bringing in a new one and putting it on the other side of the fire hydrant.”

Elliot says the HRM isn’t saying yes or no to reimbursing the owner for repairs to the vehicle, but say they will open an investigation if they’re asked to.

Global News has not been able to speak with the owner of the vehicle.