Two injured when fire truck collides with a car - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Two injured when fire truck collides with a car

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April 25, 2008

Albany-  An Albany fire truck never made it to the call it was dispatched to Friday afternoon. Instead it was involved in a crash at the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Van Buren Street.

Witnesses say the truck with four fire fighters aboard was running with it's lights on and sirens sounding when a driver ran a stop sign and pulled out in the truck's path as she was racing back to work.

Witnesses can't understand how the driver of this car didn't see the fire truck headed east on Ninth Avenue, both the lights and siren were going. Even neighbors inside their homes say they heard it.

"I was screaming myself I couldn't believe that she was coming out in front of the fire truck with all the lights going," said Mamie Gibson, a motorist.

"I heard the siren at least 25, 30 seconds before the crash," said Rachel LaFever, a neighbor.

Witnesses also told us Tammy Wertz of Leesburg didn't make a complete stop at Ninth Avenue and North Van Buren but looked left and eased into the intersection, to her right, just feet away, firefighters couldn't stop fast enough.

"He tried to stop, he slid probably about 20 feet to try to avoid hitting her and then he still hit her on the right passenger side," said Gibson.

"In our case we carry water which adds weight to the vehicle and they don't stop on a dime," said Fire Chief James Carswell.

Firefighters who were thrown around in the cabs themselves quickly scrambled out to Wertz aide and kept her still until paramedics arrived. She and Captain Sebon Burns were taken to the hospital with minor cuts and a wrist injury.

Chief James Carswell said in this case his firefighters had the right away and were trying to get to their call in as short as time as possible, driving as safely as possible. It serves as a reminder that emergency vehicles have the right of way and need a wide berth to do their jobs safely. Other units responding to the fire call at 405 Maxwell for Georgia Pacific were able to put out that fire without Station two's help.

The truck has been taken out of service for now and a replacement truck has been put into service in its place.

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