Three firefighters from the Farmington (Utah) Fire Department were injured Wednesday night when their 22,000-pound military surplus vehicle rolled 70 feet down an embankment during what the department said was driver training. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, one firefighter was flown to a hospital and remained there Thursday with head injuries. The other two were transported by ground ambulance. One of them was released from the hospital Thursday morning.
The fire department, which is north of Salt Lake City, Utah (map) had just acquired the truck and planned to convert it into a water tender to be used on wildfires. At 9 p.m. the three firefighters were training to drive the truck in conditions they might find on a fire, and were on an unimproved narrow road. The driver failed to negotiate a tight turn and the truck went off the road, rolling three or four times as it tumbled down an embankment, ending up on it’s side. Two of the firefighters were ejected, in spite of wearing seat belts, which were the old lap belt style without shoulder restraints.
Nine U. S. Forest Service firefighters were injured when their crew carrier crashed in southern California Monday night. Nathan Judy, a USFS public information officer, said seven were taken to area hospitals, treated, then released. Two had to be extricated from the truck and were flown to USC University Hospital in Los Angeles. Judy said they were being held for observation with injuries that were not life-threatening.
According to NBC in Los Angeles he accident happened at about 9:30 p.m. PT as the crew was returning from working on a brush clearance project in the Littlerock area of the Antelope Valley near Palmdale.
The Associated Press reported that authorities said the driver of the crew carrier swerved to avoid hitting a dog and lost control. The truck rolled over a 15-foot an embankment, landing on its side.
A $300,000 water tender from the Sierra Volunteer Fire Department in New Mexico was totaled when it rolled over Thursday while responding to a grass fire. According to state police, the 27-year old operator of the rig, Adam Chrisman, was given a citation for careless driving. He suffered a head injury and was taken to a hospital as a precaution.
Here is a video report on the accident, from KOB.com:
Just in the last nine months, Wildfire Today has reported on five other fire apparatus rollovers that occurred while firefighters were responding to wildfires, here, here, here, and here.
There have been two fire truck rollovers recently in which the firefighters were seriously injured while responding to vegetation fires. The photo above shows an engine from the West End Fire Department in North Carolina on Tuesday. Here is an excerpt from The News Herald:
Morganton – A West End firefighter was injured Tuesdaywhen his engine overturned while responding to a fire call.
Donald Hughes, 42, of 5298 Hayes Water Road, Morganton was airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, according to Trooper Aaron Johnson, with the N.C. State Highway Patrol. Hughes’ condition was unknown at press time.
Johnson said Hughes was traveling south on Dysartsville Road in a 2000 International Fire Truck, on his way to a fire call on Gold Mine Road, when he lost control of his fire truck.
While rounding a turn on Dysartsville, the fire truck ran off the right side of the road, Johnson said. He attempted to correct the path and pulled the vehicle back on the road.
The vehicle again went off the right side of the road, striking several bushes, mailboxes and trees before flipping, Johnson said. Highway patrol was notified at 2:34 p.m.
Hughes suffered fractures to his legs and several broken ribs, the trooper said. There also were concerns of internal bleeding.
Burke County EMS took Hughes to Grace Hospital, and then he was airlifted to Charlotte.
Johnson said speed was not likely an issue as most fire engines don’t typically travel very fast.
It is often difficult for fire trucks to drive on country roads that are narrow and curvy, Johnson said, especially because of their size. He added that water can shift in the fire engine, which makes it difficult to regain control.
The fire truck was totaled, Johnson said, with damages easily topping $300,000.
The second rollover happened near Beaumont, Mississippi on Friday. From the Laurel Leader-Call:
LAUREL — Two Perry County volunteer firefighters were injured after a tanker truck they were riding in wrecked on a county road in Beaumont Friday evening.
Beaumont Police Chief Wayne Penton said firefighters Kent Lott and Milton Paskey of the Arlington Volunteer Fire Department were responding to a fire on River Loop Road in Beaumont when the accident occurred at about 5 p.m. The ages of the firefighters were not available.
“The Beaumont Fire Department was already at the scene of the fire battling the blaze,” said Penton. “They were en route in a tanker truck to haul water to the fire.
“There are no fire hoses in areas outside the city limits and they have to rely on tankers to bring the water in to these areas,” explained Penton. “They were en route on a small country road and came into a curve when they met another vehicle.”
Penton said it appeared that the tanker went over too far as it tried to avoid hitting the vehicle and flipped over one time.
“It landed on its top,” said the chief. “They had to use the jaws of life and everything else to get them out of the truck.”
Penton said Lott is in critical condition, while Paskey is listed as serious. The injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.
A facilitated learning analysis has been released on an engine rollover that occurred in September on the Bald Angel prescribed fire on the Wallowa Whitman National Forest near La Grande, Oregon. The entire report is HERE, but below is an excerpt from the executive summary:
The assigned resources set out that morning to the slop over to find a fairly active flank that required attention from two engines. The two engines began securing the perimeter of the slop over with saw line, hand line, and a hose lay. The first engine that was serving as a pumping platform ran out of water and was replaced by the second engine. The first engine then proceeded to the Balm Creek Reservoir to scout access to a fill-site. The Balm Creek Reservoir had not been used or scouted since earlier in the fire season. The first fire engine arrived at the reservoir and found difficult access to the water’s edge due to late season drawdown. The engine slowly drove the bank looking for accessibility to the water’s edge when the engine became stuck in a soft spot. The engine operator worked on trying to regain traction by attempting to engage the engine into four wheel drive, and digging trenches behind the front tires. When in reverse, the engine suddenly regained traction, jolted back and to the left resulting in the rear wheels sliding towards the reservoir. The engine rolled over into the reservoir in approximately four feet of water coming to rest on its passenger side and roof. The driver escaped through the driver’s side window after the cab filled with water.
The driver suffered a few bumps and bruises and was transported to the Grande Ronde hospital in La Grande, OR by agency personnel. The driver is currently back to work and is expected to make a full recovery.