Apparatus, Health & Safety, News

Houston Firefighters Injured When Car Crashes into Fire Engine

(Chief Samuel Peña, Twitter)

Fire engine was blocking traffic for an earlier crash

Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, with permission

HOUSTON (Houston Chronicle) – Four firefighters and a teenager were hospitalized when the driver of a BMW crashed into a Houston fire truck blocking traffic for a separate crash Sunday night.

The crew from Engine 52 was stopped on the northbound main lanes of the Gulf Freeway near Bellfort Street to block traffic for a hit-and-run crash around 9:30 p.m. All four firefighters were inside the engine, which had its emergency lights activated.

The BMW driver was northbound in the main lanes and struck the front left side of the engine, causing heavy damage to the car and fire truck. A 15-year-old girl who was in the front passenger seat was seriously injured in the crash but is expected to survive, according to Houston Police Department Sgt. David Rose.

The four firefighters were also taken to the hospital but are in good condition.

The BMW driver could face felony charges for the crash. There were no signs of intoxication, Rose said, although authorities are seeking a blood draw to determine if the driver was intoxicated in any way.

“Very few sober people crash into giant fire trucks with their lights on like that,” said Sean Teare, chief of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Unit. He added that the driver might have been fatigued or distracted.

In Houston, an additional fire truck is typically dispatched to any freeway crash to help block traffic for firefighters and paramedics. In December, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña tweeted that the city was looking into recommissioning older fire trucks into special “blocker” trucks specifically designed to block traffic, so fully staffed engines and ladder companies can remain in service and ready to take other calls.

The status of that initiative is unclear.