Crews from Avon Fire and Rescue were delayed on their way to an incident in Somerset after fly-tipped rubbish blocked a narrow, single-track, country road.
Firefighters on the callout had to stop and manually clear the "reckless fly-tipping" to get through.
Crew members from Hicks Gate Fire Station were responding to reports of a grass fire off Queen Charlton Lane in Whitchurch just after 5pm on Wednesday 6 September.
The crew said it was "impossible" for them to turn their fire engine around and find an alternative route.
They added that reversing back down the single-track road would have taken too long, so there was no other option than removing the rubbish by hand.
Station Manager for Avon Fire and Rescue Service Paul Incledon said crews were called to reports of a grass fire in Queen Charlotte Lane.
"Unfortunately, they came across some fly-tipping blocking the road and they were unable to proceed," he said.
"They couldn't turn the vehicle around because the lane was narrow so they had to resort to using tools - shovels - to remove the debris, which delayed them by around 15 minutes.
"Fortunately, in this instance it was a false alarm but it could have been much worse if it was a serious incident."
He said the crews were "very frustrated" by the incident, as they would not have known it was a false alarm until they eventually arrived on scene.
"If that had been a fire in a building or a house then that would have been quite serious consequences."
He added that while issues like this don't happen very often, bad parking in urban areas is an "increasing problem" for the service and urged people to consider emergency vehicles when they park.