Driver could be charged for hitting hose used during deadly East Brainerd house fire
The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office continues to investigate the discovery of a body found in an East Brainerd home that was destroyed by fire on Tuesday afternoon.
Now, a driver could be facing legal consequences for running over the main water hose used by the fire crews trying to fight the blaze.
Chattanooga fire officials say crews who responded to the house fire on Stone Crest Circle Tuesday afternoon were put in even more danger when the driver ran over the hose.
"Drivers are not paying attention. They don't realize that hose is a lifeline. They think that they can drive over it," Asst. Fire Marshall Captain Chuck Hartung said.
The impact from a car driving over the crew's main hose damaged it, temporarily stopping the flow of water from the hydrant firefighters were using to get the blaze under control.
Hartung says it doesn't happen often, but when it does, the crew's next course of action is always the same.
"When a fire hose loses its supply, firefighters have to back out of the house and it puts them at risk to not having any water on the end of that fire nozzle," he explained.
The hoses are capable of spouting off more than 2,000 gallons of water per minute and play a crucial role in a fire crew's access to water.
"It basically is an above ground water main that supplies life-saving water to firefighters on the end of that nozzle trying to battle the house fire," Hartung told Channel 3.
He says the incident Tuesday required fire fighters to act quickly but when it happens, it can slow down the entire process of getting a fire under control.
"The pump operator recognizes that there's a problem with supply, so he will switch over to the on-board tank to let the interior crews know that they need to back out. So yes, it does delay the fire fighting operation but safety is paramount," Hartung said.
He also told Channel 3 that drivers responsible can face charges for running over a hose while first responders are using it to put out a fire, so CFD is urging drivers who may be nearby in the future to pay attention.
"Don't drive over the fire hose. That is a line you don't cross if it is a blocked roadway."
The hoses can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 to replace.
Hartung says it's a Class C misdemeanor to run over or damage a fire hose in the state of Tennessee. The offense could land a person in jail for up to 30 days and result in a fine of up to $50.