Firefighters not at fault for pickup damaged getting out of the way: courts

A Langley resident sued for $5,000 after scraping her pickup

A Langley woman has lost a $5,000 lawsuit against the Township of Langley after she damaged her vehicle trying to get out of the way of a fire truck.

The woman told a Small Claims Civil Resolution Tribunal that a Township fire truck had “bullied” her through an intersection and damaged her pickup.

On July 24, 2017, the woman was driving her white Ford F350 pickup on 264th Street, and had stopped for a red light at an intersection.

The flashing lights of a fire truck appeared in her rear view mirror, and the woman said she pulled over to the right to allow the truck to pass her.

“According to the applicant, the fire truck was very close to her vehicle,” the tribunal’s Lynn Scrivener wrote in her judgment. “The applicant says the fire truck was creeping forward, which led her to assume there was not enough room for it to pass.”

So the pickup driver kept moving, saying she had “no choice” but to create space for the fire truck.

She felt a bump on the passenger side of her truck, where a sand-filled barrel and concrete barrier stood. After that, she decided the only way to get out of the fire truck’s way was to go through the intersection.

The incident left her with damage to the pickup’s passenger-side fender, running board, and door including scrapes, dents, and scratches.

She claimed $5,000 in damages for repairs.

The fire captain and driver of the pickup, however, didn’t remember the incident exactly the same way.

They were heading north responding to an emergency call. They waited until traffic in the southbound lane was clear before using that lane to get to the red light, where the driver stopped to make sure he could cross the intersection safely.

While they were waiting, the white pickup “sped north across the road,” according to the firefighters’ written testimony.

The fire truck then drove through the intersection, having confirmed there was no oncoming traffic.

The pickup driver admitted there was no contact between the fire truck and her Ford, Scrivener noted.

“There is no indication that the respondent’s employees [the firefighters] somehow directed the applicant to move her vehicle,” Scrivener wrote.

While she may have felt pressure to get out of the way, there’s no evidence the fire truck forced her to drive into the barriers, Scrivener found.

The claim for $5,000 was dismissed.

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