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Illegally parked vehicles block underground fire plugs

Posted January. 05, 2018 09:32,   

Updated January. 05, 2018 09:50


“There is something under my car? Well, I have never seen it before,” a 62-year-old resident in a residential neighborhood in Gwanghui-dong, Jongno-gu in Seoul said while looking at his sky-blue passenger car parked in an alley, not in a parking lot, as if not knowing what was wrong with it.

Fire plugs are one of the rare means with which to put out fire when firefighters run out of water from their fire trucks. Therefore, it is prohibited to park vehicles and stack obstacles near fire plugs. When Dong-A Ilbo reporters looked around alleys in some of the residential and commercial areas in Seoul on Wednesday and Tuesday, they found many vehicles parked over underground fire plugs.

Most citizens and drivers were not aware of underground fire plugs at all, saying that signposts indicating them are not placed visibly. When shown an underground fire plug, a 56-year-old woman who has lived in Hwagok-dong, Gangseo-gu for 20 years, asked back if it was “just an ordinary manhole.”

Although “Fire Plug” and “No Parking” messages are marked in yellow on the lids of underground fire plugs, they are not easily visible to drivers. Moreover, many of the yellow markings have been peeled off. On some of the lids, white and yellow painting has been added, making it very hard to tell what they are for.

“It is necessary for local and central governments to strengthen the (firefighting) system by granting firefighters immunity from damaging vehicles parked near fire plugs as in the United States,” said Choi Don-mook, a professor of Fire Protection Engineering at Gachon University. “Guidelines should also be made for disputes that could arise during the process.”

kaki@donga.com · eunji@donga.com