Firefighters in New Jersey were forced to break the windows of a car parked illegally in order to run a hose and put out a fire.
At 4:17 a.m. on Wednesday, Pennsauken, New Jersey, firefighters responded to a fire at a vacant home. When they arrived, they discovered a Honda SUV in front of the hydrant, blocking their access to it. After exhausting their options, firefighters decided they had no other choice but to break the windows and run their hose through the vehicle.
Yasmine Rivera, the driver of the SUV, said there were no other parking spots available when she returned home at 4:00 a.m.
“When I came back, there was a man there at 4:14 in the morning. He's not none of my neighbors. I'm pregnant, it's 4:14, the street is dark, so I had a bad feeling, so something told me to park there and run in the house,” she said. Only a few moments later, firefighters arrived to extinguish the flames at the home nearby.
Rivera said it cost her $300 to replace the windows, and she also received a $300 fine for parking illegally. She maintained that she would not have done things differently in retrospect.
“I was uncomfortable,” she said. When I get that gut feeling, that's what I go with.”
The fire department garnered criticism for their decision to break the windows, though chief Joseph Palumbo defended their actions.
“If someone is parked illegally we still have the responsibility to get water,” he said. “People are usually more considerate than parking in front of a fire hydrant.”
Because there were people inside homes on either side of the vacant building, Palumbo said they needed to act quickly to tend to the blaze. “Windows can be replaced,” he said. “People cannot.”
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