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Engine involved in minor accident

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jim Smith
While responding to a house fire at 416 E. Blaine St., Brazil, Wednesday morning, a fire engine was involved in a minor accident.

According to Brazil City Fire Chief Jim Smith, the congested roadway was too narrow for the fire engine because of several parked cars and a trailer.

"We were on the way to an active structure fire," Smith told The Brazil Times. "We had to get there, and, unfortunately, the engine struck the trailer."

Both vehicles received minor damage.

While Smith didn't know if the unidentified owner fixed the trailer tires, he confirmed repairs to a bent exhaust pipe were completed Wednesday afternoon without having to take the fire engine out of service.

Brazil's narrow streets, along with the addition of more and more vehicles being parked on the streets, is an issue not only for the fire department, but also for other larger city vehicles -- like garbage trucks.

"It's been a real nightmare for years," he said. "The guys on the garbage trucks deal with it all the time. People don't pay attention to how they park and block the roads. Just because a compact car can get down the road, doesn't mean other cars can."

Smith encourages drivers to remember the "what ifs" when parking in the city.

"What if there's an emergency at a relative's or a friend's house? They'd want emergency responders to get there as quickly as possible, and they might not be able to if vehicles are parked too close together," Smith said, adding a state law requires roads are kept open for traffic. "People need to use common sense and take the time to make sure there's room for other vehicles to get through the street."

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Some roads are narrow and need no parking on one or the other. People park there vehicles across from each other make it difficult for larger vehicles.

-- Posted by garyodavis on Wed, Aug 26, 2009, at 11:13 PM

Some cities restrict parking to just one side of the street.

-- Posted by JHeffner on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 5:07 AM

In Brazil, some of the streets were designed for horse drawn carriages, buggies, and such. They sure were never modernized to accommodate two parked vehicles and a large vehicle moving down the street, much less to two vehicles moving in opposite directions at the same time past two parked vehicles!

Restricting parking to one side or the other of such a street is an option; however, it could result in a lot of contention from residents when you have to decide which side of the street you're going to allow parking on!

I think that it would be fairer to the property owners to simply ban on-street parking along these narrow streets; allowing, of course, a period of time for the property owner to make other parking arrangements on their property.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 10:12 AM

Leo, and what would you suggest the folks who do not have the room or the means for a driveway do with their veh(s)??

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 2:14 PM

Go down Blaine Street, check out the sidewalks that are so much higher than the streets that it is almost impossible to get in and out of any vehicle. The vehicles doors can't even be opened in some places even if you are just stopping by for a visit. Maybe people could get a little closer to the curb, if they could get out of their vehicles.

The people with the trailer do not want to see anyone have problems due to a fire. They themselves have been involved in house fires and if anyone knows what it feels like, I guess it would be someone who has been there themselves.

Maybe the city needs to check to see if there is anyway to improve the situation so the roads and sidewalks at least are closer in height.

-- Posted by Say it again girl! on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 3:08 PM

Lee, if notice is published by the city that on-street parking on a street, even Blaine Street after Janurary 1, say in the year 2012, I have no doubt that property owners would find a way to make other parking arrangements. Not overnight, but given a period of over 18 months, I have no doubt that ways and means would be found to provide a solution to the problem.

Say it again girl, yes, the city can modify the street, even to the point of widening it. That, however, takes money that we do not have. Now, this happened on Blaine Street, but there are many other streets on which it can happen. It would take a LOT of money to modify all of the streets so that it doesn't happen due to the width of the street.

The cheapest way is to stop vehicles from parking on the street. The fairest way to do that is to totally ban parking along narrow streets so that you do not favor one side of the street above the other. That puts the issue of parking solely on the individual landowner.

This is a public safety problem. It is within the scope of city government's power to protect public safety by modifying what parking is permissible within the city limits to allow for the most expedient and safe movement of emergency vehicles.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 4:40 PM

Leo, you danced around my question. Make other arrangments? Example??

I have one. They could all park at your house and you could shuttle them to their homes. Wouldn't cost the City a dime.

-- Posted by I. M. Lee Thall, Esq. on Thu, Aug 27, 2009, at 7:16 PM

I happened to have been up on Blaine Street yesterday. It isn't as narrow as some of our streets, such as Georgia, Vermont, and Tennessee. It does have the high curb that Say It Again Girl spoke of in her comment.

Lee -- I didn't evade your question. I stated that, with proper notice, the property owner could make other arrangements for parking. If the properties are too small as they are, perhaps some of them need to be consolidated by selling them to have room for parking on the property if it came to that. I didn't see that every piece of property had access to an alley, but I didn't actually drive around to make sure. The street runs in a depression between two hills that would make driveways off of it a bit hard to do.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Fri, Aug 28, 2009, at 11:47 AM

the fire on blaine st., if the fire department was in such a hurry (as which they should be)why did they take the long way to get there. they should have come down 59 or lambert not ALABAMA. i personally know the family that had the trailor and yes they have had their own fire that totally destroyed their home. comment on the curbs, yes they are very high. unless you have a truck or suv you will grind your car door on the sidewalk.

-- Posted by inyourface on Fri, Aug 28, 2009, at 9:31 PM

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