How A Fire Hydrant Went Airborne And Killed A Man Mid-Walk

We sometimes hear or read about stories that seem too bizarre to be true. Freak accidents, for instance, cause us to be wary of the most simple things that can cause harm or sometimes, even death. There have been reports of unusual deaths throughout the years, including a fisherman killed by a fish, a death by drinking too much carrot juice, and a death by a cow that fell through a roof (via News 24). For one young man, death came by way of a flying fire hydrant.

In June 2007, a 24-year-old man named Humberto Hernandez was walking on the street with his wife at about 5:52 p.m. Hernandez had just purchased some cherries and flowers for his wife, and they were on their way by foot to a nearby restaurant to have dinner, as reported by the East Bay Times. The couple never got to enjoy their meal. As they were walking, a vehicle blew a tire, and that was the catalyst in a series of events that led to Hernandez's death.

The fire hydrant was dislodged

The driver of a Ford Escape wasn't able to control the vehicle after one of its tires blew, and the large SUV swerved to the sidewalk and hit a fire hydrant. According to Firefighter Now, fire hydrants can weigh anywhere from 150 to 500 pounds, depending on the type of metal used (brass or cast iron) and the amount of water pressure it can take. The heavier it is, the more water pressure it can withstand. Per The Orange County Register, the fire hydrant that the Ford Escape crashed into weighed about 200 pounds, and the impact sent it flying into the air. In addition, the water pressure was so strong that according to a sheriff, the fire hydrant flew like a bullet.

Reports said that Humberto Hernandez was about 10 feet away from the accident and was walking a little bit ahead of his wife when the flying fire hydrant struck him on the back of the head. It then ricocheted and went through a fence (via the East Bay Times). Hernandez was declared dead at the scene minutes after the accident. "I've seen people hit fire hydrants but never anyone killed by a flying fire hydrant," one officer said.

Other fire hydrant-related deaths

In 2017, an 89-year-old man driving a vehicle struck a fire hydrant, which caused it to gush water. A report from Florida Today stated that the man vacated his car to check the damage. The rushing water caused a divot to form near the driver's side door, and the man accidentally slipped. The water's current swept him underneath his car where he remained trapped in the shallow water until witnesses pulled him out. He was brought to a nearby hospital but later died.

In another car accident in 2022, a male driver and his female companion were traveling at high speeds when the driver lost control of the vehicle and collided with a fire hydrant, which caused a utility pole to topple over. According to Fox 11, the impact of the crash was so strong that the man and the woman were thrown from the car, and the vehicle was left damaged beyond repair. They were both pronounced dead at the scene.