Chief: Gawkers slowed fire department response

Traffic near the fire was a "huge hindrance" to the 23 firefighters and five units that responded to the fire


Keith Norman
The Jamestown Sun, N.D.

JAMESTOWN, ND — Rubberneckers and gawkers slowed the Jamestown Fire Department's response to a backyard shed fire Friday, according to Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police.

"The public hindered the response," he said. "There was a lot of danger created at the intersections."

Initially, calls from the public to the Stutsman County Communications Center reported a shed on fire near the intersection of 11th Street Southeast and 13th Avenue Southeast about 1:15 p.m. Dark clouds of smoke were visible at that time from the downtown area.

Jim Reuther, chief of the Jamestown Fire Department, said the traffic near the fire was a "huge hindrance" to the 23 firefighters and five units that responded to the fire.

Estimates of the damage to the structure and its contents of automobile parts and other materials was put at $7,500. The cause of the fire is unknown.

An ambulance was dispatched to the scene and remained on standby during the firefighting efforts because so much of the content of the shed was unknown, Reuther said.

Reuther said heavy traffic in the area made it difficult for official vehicles to move at the fire scene.

"Just moving around the block at the fire scene was slowed by traffic," Reuther said. "People didn't move out of the way even for lights and sirens."

It is a violation of Jamestown municipal ordinances to hinder fire apparatus or personnel on the way to a fire. It is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.

"Just move out of the way and allow those emergency vehicles to get through," Reuther said.

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©2019 The Jamestown Sun (Jamestown, N.D.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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