HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — A Huntersville family was given quite the scare over the weekend, after first suffering symptoms of carbon monoxide and then watching as first responders couldn’t reach them.
“Residents had a reading of high CO in their house and actually had some symptoms,” says Bill Suthard, public information officer for Huntersville Fire Department.
But while first responders raced to get to the family, the family -- who was told to wait for help from their driveway -- had to then watch as their help couldn’t get to them.
“As we were arriving up the street we then got stuck between vehicles,” said Suthard, who said cars were parked on both sides of the street in a subdivision off Tanners Creek Drive. Suthard said because of the cars, the roadway clearance was only about 7 feet, while fire engines measure 8’4 and ladder trucks measure 8’6.
He said the first fire truck then had to reverse and find another route.
“They had to back out all the way out of the block and come around. And going in reverse in a truck like that is not fast,” he said.
Suthard said the parked cars not only prevented the fire trucks from getting through but also the ambulance. Despite blaring their sirens, he said no one came out to move their cars.
“We had four patients, we had a problem in the house, we had to split the workload between crews and we needed everybody on scene that could get there, and that delay didn’t help. If we had a house fire that would have been a serious impact in the incident,” said Suthard.
Suthard said with the holidays approaching, family and friends coming to town, and parking at a premium in most communities, he took the incident to Facebook to remind everyone to be more aware of where you park.
“We just need you to have a little bit of wherewithal, common sense when you get out of the vehicle, look and move. I saw a lot of comments blaming developers, blaming town officials, but not really taking responsibility for the various people that got out of their vehicle, probably looked and just moved on,” he said.
NBC Charlotte reached out to the Town of Huntersville who said drivers are required to provide a minimum 10 feet between cars. If not, they said police can and will issue a citation.
According to the Town’s Code of Ordinances 71.02.(A)17: “No person shall stop, stand or park a vehicle, except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the directions of a police officer or traffic control device, in any of the following places:…On a street or public alley maintained alley so as to leave available less than ten feet of the width of the roadway or marked travel lane.”