IFD responds to west side house fire, finds hydrant was illegally blocked off by fence

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 25, 2016)-- Every second counts for fire crews who work to save your life and your property.

“Anytime that we have to work that much harder to establish a water supply, those are fewer seconds that we have to get inside and attack the fire,” said IFD Battalion Chief Rita Reith.

They cannot do their job if you, your car or in this case a white picket fence get in the way.

“They had no idea the hydrant was there,” said Reith.

That is what happened when fire crews responded to a house fire on the west side early Thursday morning. Their mapping system located the hydrant in the front yard of the home, but they did not actually see it.

“If they would have seen that one, they would have just pulled right up-- done what we call moseying into the hydrant and laid a short section of hose right into the hydrant,” said Reith.

The hydrant was hidden by a white fence and two garbage cans. It was dark outside. Since fire crews could not find the hydrant that was closest to the home, they had to use one that was a block away.

“We had to stop way back there, drop the line and drive all of the way up to the house,” said Reith.

Blocking off your hydrant is against the law and wastes valuable time for firefighters. It also gives the flames more time to do serious damage.

“An extra minute or two when it is a life-saving matter means a lot,” said Reith.

The homeowner said she was not told this was illegal.

“I would have taken it down if I thought that someone would not have been able to see something,” said the homeowner.

Now, as the family looks to rebuild, they say they will remove the fencing right away.

“The fence will come down for sure. If I would have known before, I would have taken it down. If I thought that I was going to stop them from getting to the fire hydrant,” said the homeowner.

By law, you are required to park at least 12 feet away from a fire hydrant, leaving that amount of room on both sides. It is also against the law to use fencing or any other objects to block off a hydrant.

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