How many of us saw the flashing lights and heard the roaring sirens of a fire truck or a police car trying to pass us by?

The law states that in such cases you pull your car over to the side, stop and allow that emergency vehicle pass you by.


Last summer, on a pleasant, balmy evening we loaded our four granddaughters into our minivan and off we went to get ice cream cones.  Half way there, a fire truck with flashing lights and sirens blowing wanted to pass us on their way to an emergency, so we stopped our car at the side of the road and waited for the truck to pass us by.

As the fire truck approached we noticed his side door was not anchored and it was flopping through the air as it made its way to the ‘emergency’.

As the truck passed us by, that flopping side door hit the rear left side of my minivan. The impact was such that is totally dislodged my rear light and the force of that heavy door flopping in the air placed a large dent on my rear fender, and as it passed the same flopping door ripped my side view mirror of the door.


The driver having sensed the impact stopped and asked if we were all safe, and while the girls were very freighted and shocked we were unhurt.

They admitted on the spot that the rear door was improperly anchored, called ahead and arranged for a different truck to respond to the emergency (which turned out to be a cat stuck in an elevator).

The ‘chief’ offered us a form to fill and present to the local Fire Department.

The completed form was presented to the appropriate department, and after a sufficient wait, the fire department mailed us a form letter explaining they are not responsible for damages caused while they are responding to an emergency.

The answer was truly unacceptable, especially since the damage was done by an improperly anchored door prior to attending the emergency.

Dissatisfied with the Fire Departments reply we took the matter to court. After two months of postponements and delays, the judge ordered the fire department to allow us to take the car to their garage and they fixed all damages including the rear view mirror, real light, rear fender dent, etc.

Even if you are refused the first time around, persevere – you too may get a good judge who is willing to bend the rules and help you aou.