GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – People disobeying parking signs across Grand Rapids are causing delays for the fire department when they’re responding to an emergency.
Craig Lewis, a 15-year veteran with the Grand Rapids Fire Department, said he and his team rushed to the scene of a fire in the 600 block of Prospect Avenue on Monday.
“As we were pulling up, deciding where we were going to park, we saw a ladder truck and they were impeded by two cars that were parked on either side of the road and they weren’t going fit through,” Lewis said.
Due to people not obeying the signs, fire crews took an alternative route, putting them behind by about a minute.
“When they say fire doubles in size every minute that can mean a lot,” Lewis said.
No one was hurt at the fire on Prospect Avenue, but, running into road blocks is something Lt. Martin Ogrodzinski said is an all too common occurrence.
“Every winter it’s been a problem in the city of Grand Rapids where people don’t follow the odd/even (parking rules),”Ogrodzinski said.
He showed us some of the damage along their fire truck after they tried to navigate through a tight spot while on their way to an emergency.
“If we can’t get a vehicle down to a fire or medical scene it’s a matter of life or death,” Ogrodzinksi said.
Since November of last year, police said they’ve issued more than 5,000 odd/even parking tickets in Grand Rapids.
Although it seems law enforcement is trying to eliminate the problem, Ogrodzinski said it’s up to the people in the community to make sure they’re not violating parking ordinances.
“It could save their life,” he said. “It could save the life of somebody they love.”