Firetruck accident injures 8

2 fire engines collide responding to call

January 17, 1999|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Two fire engines responding to what turned out to be a false alarm collided at a West Baltimore intersection early yesterday, injuring eight firefighters and severely damaging fire equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Six of the injured firefighters were released from two city hospitals yesterday morning. Two remained hospitalized at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, one suffering from a broken arm and the other with head injuries.

Battalion Chief Hector L. Torres said the accident at West North Avenue and North Pulaski Street was one of the most serious crashes involving fire engines in the past few years. He said the cause of the accident, which occurred at 12: 45 a.m., remains under investigation.

Police Officer Raymond Howard of the traffic investigation section said the driver of Engine 52, identified as firefighter Ellery Queen, "ran a stop sign," causing the accident.

Fire engines and police cars are required to stop at red lights and stop signs, even when using lights and sirens, to make sure the intersection is clear of traffic.

Howard said a preliminary investigation does not indicate ice contributed to the accident. No citations have been issued, he said.

The engines were responding to a report of a home fire in the 1800 block of N. Smallwood St., a call that Torres said turned out to be false. Engine 52 was being driven south on Pulaski; Truck 10, a ladder truck, was traveling west on North Avenue.

Torres said Engine 52 struck the back end of the 20,000-pound ladder truck broadside, sending it skidding 20 feet across the street. No other vehicles were hit.

One firefighter had to be cut from the engine's cab. Both vehicles, officials said, were severely damaged and might be beyond repair. The ladder truck costs $500,000.

Queen and a firefighter on Truck 10, Bo Krouse, were the most seriously injured. Queen suffered a broken arm and a possible rib fracture; Krouse lost consciousness. Both were in serious condition at Shock Trauma.

The others were identified as Capt. Ed Schaefer, Capt. Charles Feeley, and firefighters Charles Campbell, Brian Connor, Troy Howell and Jasper Williams.

Pub Date: 1/17/99

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