No one was injured when an outbuilding caught fire in Roodhouse Tuesday evening.
The Roodhouse and White Hall Fire Districts responded to a call of a garage fire at approximately 6:30 pm Tuesday. Roodhouse Fire Chief Terry Hopkins says the structure was actually an outbuilding and was separate from the home on the property.
“When we got paged for that it said it was a garage. It was actually a twenty by twenty-five little shed. It was completely separated from the house and really had no exposures around it. The shed was a total loss.
The guy apparently was trying to get his riding lawnmower going. I don’t know exactly what he did, he’s not real sure either, but he said next thing I knew when I cranked it I had fire everywhere. It didn’t hurt the main structure at all and other than some tools he had and the mower and shed, everything else was untouched.”
According to a post on the Roodhouse Fire Protection District’s social media, it was reported that multiple vehicles had been seen driving over charged hydrant lines supplying the fire apparatus with water.
Hopkins who was out of town when the call came in and did not see it happen this time, says it is a frequent occurrence for their charged lines to be run over while they are trying to extinguish a fire.
“I sure wish they wouldn’t drive across our hose, especially when it’s charged. Now theoretically you can run across a fire hose when it doesn’t have water in it. But if they were to hit that thing just right and at the right speed and rupture it, well not only would they cut our water source, a the end of that hose running at fifty or sixty pounds PSI, it could start slapping around and hurt someone standing around by it before we could get down there and shut the hydrant off.
It’s a hazard and not only a risk to us, but in cutting our water supply, if we had someone in that structure it could be a matter of life and death. It could also be a hazard to them to if they ran over it and were still close enough it could hurt them.”
Hopkins says police in the area used to watch for and follow anyone who ran over a fire line and issue them a citation to replace a section of the hose they ran over and likely damaged.
He says back then the cost was approximately $75.00, but now that same size section of fire hose would cost over $500.00 to replace.
Illinois state law prohibits the crossing of unprotected fire lines as well as remaining 500 feet back from an active fire hose or apparatus during an active fire call.