Firefighters were left shaking their heads Thursday morning after a Lexus driver burst a fire hose they were using to battle a stubborn blaze in East Vancouver.

Crews spent all night trying to douse a fire that broke out late Wednesday at Metropolitan Fine Printers, and on Thursday morning they were hit with an unexpected setback.

A man drove under caution tape and proceeded to run over a supply hose worth about $1,000, causing a slit that sent a geyser of water shooting into the air.

"We cannot over emphasize that this is not only illegal, but highly, highly dangerous," fire department spokesman Jonathan Gormick said.

"A tear in our supply line can mean an immediate interruption to our water supply, and if firefighters are in a building to extinguish a fire it can cause them to (lose) their only tool to save themselves."

Fortunately, no one was injured, and firefighters believe the hose, which is about 12 centimetres in diameter, might be salvageable.

The Lexus driver initially continued down the street, in what Gormick described as an apparent attempt to flee, but firefighters chased him down and stopped him.

Gormick said he doubts the driver could have been oblivious to what had happened.

"The hose is extremely rigid because it has upwards of 100 lbs. of pressure in it," he said. "And it's bright yellow."

The man later walked out of his car and pushed a CTV News cameraperson who was recording the aftermath. He then took a child who was in the car with him and walked away from the scene. 

The incident is just the latest example of drivers disrupting firefighting efforts in Metro Vancouver this year, with varying outcomes.

In January, a suspected drunk driver ran over a fire hose and dragged it partway down Hastings Street, knocking over a firefighter who was left with extensive lower body injuries.

That first responder remains off the job months later.

Other incidents have been less serious. In February, a driver was caught on camera driving over a hose outside a raging fire in Burnaby, though the hose never burst and no one was injured.

But regardless of the outcome, driving over a fire hose is illegal, and anyone caught doing it faces an $81 fine.

The fire that broke out at Metropolitan Fine Printers Wednesday night was already a challenge because of all the chemicals stored inside, according to Asst. Fire Chief Kevin Wilson.

"The print shop houses all kinds of chemicals, papers, acetone thinners," Wilson told CTV News. "We've had multiple explosions and flames shooting up 150 feet in the air."

The blaze also blanked the area with what firefighters described as "quite an acrid smoke."

Fortunately, no one was inside when the fire broke out, and no injuries have been reported.

But it was still devastating to the business, which has been around for 35 years and employs about 50 people.

Staff members told CTV News when the fire started, they were printing a run of menus on synthetic stock.

The cause hasn't been determined, but it's not believed to be suspicious.

With files from CTV Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim and Allison Hurst