WESLEY CHAPEL, N.C. — A fire department in Union County is asking drivers to pay closer attention when firefighters are out on the job. The chief said someone cut their water supply by driving over and breaking two hoses while crews were fighting a fire.
The Wesley Chapel Fire Department shared that message in a Facebook post. The department said crews were at a fire on Tuesday at a home in the Fairfax Farms neighborhood, which is in the area of Cuthbertson Road and New Town Road.
Wesley Chapel Fire said the neighborhood, which didn’t have fire hydrants, needed a tanker to supply the water. The closest hydrant to the home was more than 3,400 feet away.
Several trucks put down hose lines to supply water to crews battling the fire.
The fire department said cars ran over the hose, which connected the fire hydrant to the truck. Firefighters couldn’t continue with their work because they had to replace two 100-foot sections of hose, which meant they had to stop putting water on the fire.
“Well we certainly can’t extinguish a fire without any water,” said fire chief Steven McLendon.
“They had to shut operation down, take the fire hose, remove the damage hose, hook up a new hose, charge the hydrant, and send the water back down,” he added.
That was no easy feat, as the sole fire hydrant was more than half a mile down the road. McLendon said Fairfax Farms is one of Wesley Chapel’s older neighborhoods and was built before current fire codes.
The home is a total loss, but McLendon is salvaging one lesson. He’s reminding the community it’s not just against the law to run over a fire hose -- it comes with other consequences.
“When you run over a fire hose or damage equipment in the middle of an emergency operation, crews are doing their best to save life and to save property,” he said.
Wesley Chapel Fire said it’s not the first time someone has run over the fire hose at a scene; they’ve had it happen several times.
The fire department said a driver can be given a ticket or citation for running over a hose.
As for the fire on Tuesday, EMS evaluated someone at the scene for minor burns. The cause is still under investigation.
Meanwhile, the community has started a GoFundMe for the family that lives there.
McLendon also posted a statement to Facebook stressing the importance of staying clear of fire hoses.
“Please, do not drive over fire hose. At the other end of that hose is someone’s property we are trying to save, and even more importantly, firefighters inside a burning house and possibly someone’s life we are trying to save!” it reads. “We are doing our best to mitigate the incident as quickly and safely as possible, but we can not do that when our operations are interrupted by someone who runs over our hose.”
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