Thursday, March 19, 2009

9 Philly Firefighters Hurt as Apparatus Collide

One firefighter remains in serious condition: (Still image courtesy Chopper 6)

PHILADLEPHIA, PA (March 19, 2009) -- Nine Philadelphia firefighters and a civilian were rushed to downtown hospitals following a crash involving 2 fire apparatus. The accident took place at 11:20am at 8th and Lombard Streets in Old Town.

The crash took place as Squrt 43 and Ladder 9, companies which are housed together at 23rd and Market Streets, arrived simultaneously at the intersection. The companies were responding from a previous alarm at 7th and Market, far from their local alarm district.

Witnesses say that Squrt 43, traveling south on 8th street -- and Ladder 9, traveling west on Lombard -- collided with tremendous force at the intersection. Squrt 43 plowed into the cab of Ladder 9, a tractor drawn aerial, changing the engine's path from south to west in seconds. The impact drove the aerial truck into nearby row homes, with the engine coming to rest after knocking down a utility pole.

6ABC Video of the Crash Scene

According to 6ABC's John Rawlins, 5 firefighters from the Ladder Company and 4 from the Squrt were taken to three downtown hospitals. Medics stationed just 2 blocks away were on the scene in a matter of seconds, radioing that the officer of Ladder 9 was unconcious and trapped.

Firefighters involved:

Engine Company 43:
Lt Steve Kessler, FF Shawn Conway, FF Keith Davis, FF David Keller

Ladder Company 9:
Lt Richard Prather, FF Anthony Russell, FF Charles Green, FF James Hegarty

Other companies quickly arrived and the Lieutenant was extricated from the mangled interior of the American LaFrance cab. Fire Commisioner Lloyd Ayers said that the Lieutenant was concious and asking about his men as he was being loaded into a medic unit.

Right now, it's unknown which apparatus had the green light, but Ayers promised that a full investigation would be launched.

Experts compare this wreck to a similar accident which occured in St. Louis this past summer, when a traffic camera recorded two Quints colliding at an intersection. In that incident, the apparatus collided at a high rate of speed, causing one of the rigs to spin 180 degrees, the roll over.

Video of St. Louis Crash


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