Davidson County firefighters caution against parking in businesses' fire lanes

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LEXINGTON, N.C. -- How many times have you or someone you know parked in the fire lane while out running errands?

First responders tell FOX8 it happens every day in Davidson County.

“We deal with a lot of vehicles parked in fire lanes all the time. You see it everywhere you go,” said Michael Sexton, assistant fire marshal for Davidson County.

He responds to a lot of fires and gets a lot of calls about blocked fire lanes.

“If the fire department rolls up to the scene and you’ve got five of or six cars parked in that access area or the fire lane as it’s noted on the building or marked on the asphalt, it's a lot more difficult,” Sexton said.

Navigating hoses around parked cars is not an easy task.

“If you were in that building and there was an emergency, would you want us to quickly be able to access you to get you the proper help or do you want us to have that problem of vehicles or whatever it may be obstructing that fire lane, blocking it, and it’s going to cost us precious seconds?" Sexton said.

Connie Antosek makes it a point to park several rows away from those areas.

“I don’t think they realize how dangerous it can be and what they are actually doing because if there is a fire you want the firemen to get there as quickly as they can, save the people, save the building. Whatever they need to do, and if a car is in the way, that’s going to impede them and take them a whole lot longer," Antosek said.

Bryant Hensley has his own opinion about parking there.

“If they made a parking spot just for one car, that way they can run in and run out, it would probably be a lot easier," Hensley said.

“Most of the time you’ll find somebody sitting in the vehicle and we’ll just kindly ask them, 'Can you please move your vehicle out of the fire lane?' and we kind of explain to them why. Every second counts when it comes to a fire, absolutely," Sexton said.

There is no ordinance in the city of Lexington about parking in a fire lane but if you're caught doing it and are in the way of first responders, your car could be towed.

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