Hydrant blocked by BMW at Boston 3-alarm fire

The BMW was so close to the hydrant that it wasn't even worth it for firefighters to break the windows to snake a water line through

Boston Herald

BOSTON — Boston firefighters rushing to a three-alarm apartment blaze yesterday with lives at stake found a BMW blocking a hydrant — for the second time since April — this time with two tickets on the windshield but still untowed.

“People just do stupid things sometimes whether it’s thinking, ‘Oh, they’ll never need that hydrant,’ or, ‘There’s not going to be a fire,’?” Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said outside what remained of a four-unit Boston Housing Authority building in the South End. The home was gutted by an early morning blaze he said was sparked by a halogen lamp igniting a mattress in a third-floor bedroom.

“This could have been a fatal fire where that hydrant would have been needed,” MacDonald said. “It’s a dangerous game people play when they park on hydrants.”

The Beemer, which MacDonald said had two tickets on the windshield, was so close to the hydrant at Rutland and Tremont streets 100 yards from the fire it wasn’t even worth the while of firefighters to break the windows to snake a water line through.

“The kink was too great. Going through the windows wouldn’t have helped the situation,” MacDonald said. “It was basically just a hydrant we weren’t going to be able to use. The car really prevented that hydrant from being operational. It had a couple of tickets on it from the traffic enforcement people, so who knows how long it was there.”

In April, firefighters smashed the windows of another BMW blocking a fireplug outside an eight-alarm inferno in East Boston. The car’s owner was fined $100.

Kate Norton, a spokeswoman for Mayor Martin J. Walsh, had no immediate information on why the car hadn’t been towed.

Larry Smith, whose girlfriend and her three young children were in the apartment where the blaze broke out about 7:20 a.m., said he understands parking is tough in the South End, but whoever parked the BMW was “ignorant. It’s laziness. They know they’re not supposed to park there.”

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