Sunday, August 10
VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — Four firefighters and three drivers were hospitalized Saturday after a chain-reaction crash involving a ladder truck that was rushing to a kitchen fire in Northern California, authorities said.
The ladder truck had its sirens on when it collided with a car at a street intersection, causing it to strike at least one vehicle, overturn twice and crush an SUV, Vallejo Fire Department spokesman William Tweedy said.
The truck took out street signs and sheared a fire hydrant before coming to a stop on its side a block away from the initial collision.
The final collision caused a GMC Yukon to flip. It took about 35 minutes to extricate the driver from the SUV, Tweedy said.
The injured were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Tweedy said, adding that the firefighters "all seem to be OK."
He said he couldn't believe that nobody was seriously hurt or killed in the crash. The SUV was badly mangled, and the ladder truck's rear cab — used to help steer the long truck — was mostly destroyed.
"The guy in the back of the truck could have easily been killed ... all that's left in the cab is the seat," Tweedy said. "If you saw the (SUV), you'd never thought anybody could have survived it. It was horrific really."
The fire truck was left twisted into two directions. The front part of the truck was flipped onto the driver's side, while the rear part was upright.
The collisions left a trail of broken glass and auto parts from the truck and vehicles. The hydrant gushed water for a period before firefighters were able to cut off the water.
Investigators were trying to determine who was at fault in the initial collision.