Two fire truck rollovers

Morganton North Carolina fire truck rollover
WSOC-TV Channel 9

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.

Bald Angel engine rollover

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.

Report of Alberta firefighters killed in vehicle rollover

FirefighterCloseCalls is reporting that:

Firefighters Nathan Jackson and Francis Cardinal were killed in the Line of Duty when their vehicle rolled over returning from a fire near Conklin, Alberta, CN

We were able to find some articles about a July 21 rollover that fit that description, but were unable to verify that it was a line of duty accident. Here are obituaries for Mr. Jackson and Mr. Cardinal who both passed away on July 21.

Our condolences to the families and co-workers.

UPDATE on August 12, 2010:

We received more details about this accident from the Canadian government through the International Association of Wildland Fire:

Firefighter’s Name: Francis Cardinal

Rank or Position: Type II Firefighter.

Age: DOB 1982-07-11 (28)

Gender: Male

Status: Contract Type II firefighter

Years of Service: experience 16 seasons

Date of Incident: July 21, 2010

Time of Incident: Approximately 20:30 hours

Date of Death: July 21, 2010

Firefighter’s Name: Nathan Jackson

Rank or Position: Type I Firefighter.

Age: DOB 1987-04-13 (23)

Gender: Male

Status: Seasonal Contract Type I firefighter

Years of Service: experience 1 1/2 seasons

Date of Incident: July 21, 2010

Time of Incident: Approximately 20:30 hours

Date of Death: July 21, 2010

Name of the Firefighters Fire Department: BLMS Wildland fire fighters Ltd.; Caslan , Alberta

Incident Description: The BLMS Wildland Fire Fighters Ltd. was on contract to the Department of Sustainable Resource Development and based out of Liesmer Fire Base in the Lac La Biche Area to work on wildfires.

On July 21st. the Crew had driven out from Liesmer Fire Base in two crew vehicles, along with another crew in separate vehicles that afternoon to take suppressive action on a wildfire. Later that day, the crews were returning to Liesmer Fire Base travelling West bound on a secondary gravel road. At approximately 3 kilometers west of Conklin Corners, they approched a west bound vehicle travelling in the west bound lane. The first vehicle being operated by BLMS Wildland fire fighters Ltd. entered the east bound lane of the secondary road and increased his speed and sucessfully passed the west bound vehicle.

The second vehicle operated by BLMS Wildland fire fighters Ltd. Attempted to follow the first and entered the east bound lane of the secondary road, and increased speed, and sucsesfully passed the west bound vehicle. It then attempted to re-enter the west bound lane at which time the driver lost control of the vehicle, it started to fish-tail, and then vehicle rolled, several times. The three occupants in the vehicle were ejected from the vehicle. The vehicle came to rest in the middle section of the road on it’s wheels, with the front of the vehicle facing in a northerly direction.

Australian firefighter killed in vehicle rollover

UPDATE at 11:16, January 11:

The firefighter has been identified as Hugh Monroe. Here is information from CFA Connect dated January 11:


Tolmie & District Rural Fire Brigade member Hugh Monroe died yesterday after the tanker he was driving was involved in an accident on the way to an incident in Victoria’s North East. The accident happened about 14 kilometres from Tatong.

Mr Monroe, 62, had been a volunteer for nearly 11 years and was a much loved member of both his brigade and community. A dedicated firefighter and brigade 3rd Lieutenant, he was involved in the 2006 campaign through Victoria’s high country and the Black Saturday fires last year.


(The original article:)

A firefighter was killed and four others were injured when their fire truck rolled over while they were responding to a grass fire at Lake Mokoan near Benalla in northeast Victoria, Australia. (map)

Here is information from the Brisbane Times:


A 62-year-old volunteer firefighter was protecting his community in northeastern Victoria when he died in a tanker rollover that injured four of his brigade mates.

The man was travelling to put out a blaze ahead of extreme fire weather when he was killed at Tatong in northeast Victoria on Sunday.

Three men and a woman were also injured in the rollover, two suffering serious injuries.

Country Fire Authority (CFA) chief fire officer Russell Rees said the man, from nearby Tolmie, was one of five firefighters travelling to a fire at Lake Mokoan, near Benalla, when tragedy struck.

“One of our members tragically died and our condolences go to the family and the broader CFA family,” Mr Rees said.

“This is a sad event, it reinforces once again the dedication and commitment of our people across the emergency services, but particularly the volunteers who get up out of bed while you and I are slumbering away on a Sunday morning and go and do work for their community.”

The single vehicle accident occurred on the Spring Creek Road at Tatong, north of Mansfield, about 6.30am (AEDT).

The 62-year-old firefighter, believed to be the driver, was trapped inside the tanker and died at the scene.

Two men were flown to Melbourne hospitals in a serious condition and a man and a woman were transported by road ambulance to the Goulburn Valley Hospital in Shepparton.

Acting Premier Rob Hulls said his thoughts went out to the family of the deceased and those injured.

“I think it really reinforces that CFA volunteers put their life on the line and this is certainly very clear by what occurred today,” he said.

“A volunteer going to Lake Mokoan fire to further blacken out particular areas has tragically lost his life, really trying to protect (the) lives of others.”

It’s believed two of the injured firefighters went to a nearby house to raise the alarm and a doctor and an off-duty policeman were the first on the scene.

A man, aged about 42, was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital with spinal and chest injuries.

Another man, aged 52, was flown to The Alfred hospital with neck, back and head injuries.

A woman suffering chest and abdominal injuries and a man with head lacerations were taken to Shepparton.

Top wildland fire stories of 2009-with poll

In the United States, at least, 2009 was less busy than your average year, in terms of the number of fires and the total acres burned. In the lower 49 states, 2,720,903 acres burned, which is the lowest number since 2004.

But it was a fairly busy year for wildland fire news. We have put together some of the stories we consider to be the most newsworthy. They are listed here, and below you will have a chance to vote on the ones that you consider to be the top stories. This list does not include the line of duty deaths which we reported earlier, except in the case of the Andrew Palmer fatality investigation report which exposed a great many issues affecting firefighter safety, and survival following an accident.

Feb. 8: Black Saturday fires kill 173 people in Australia

Mar. 7: Raymond Lee Oyler convicted and sentenced to death for Esperanza fire deaths

Apr. 20: Series of 5 articles on wildfire in L. A. Times wins Pulitzer Prize

Apr. 23: 76 homes burn in North Myrtle Beach, SC fire

May 6: Jesusita fire near Santa Barbara; 4 FF entrapments; 77 homes burn.

Jun. 27: San Diego Gas and Electric agrees to pay $686 million to insurance companies that paid claims to their customers for the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon fires.

Jul. 19: Dozens of firefighters are sickened by Norovirus at Redrock and Trailer 1 fires north of Reno.

Aug. 22: Eight members of the Klamath Hot Shots were injured when thier crew carrier was involved in a crash on Highway 99 in northern California.

Aug. 26: The 90-acre Big Meadow prescribed fire in Yosemite National Park escapes and eventually burns 7,418 acres.

Aug. 26: The Station fire started near Los Angeles, eventually burning 160,000 acres. A controversy erupted over accusations that the US Forest Service used less than aggressive tactics on day two of the fire, causing it to become larger than it would have if more resources had been assigned.

Nov. 3: Andrew Palmer fatality report released; many issues identified related to emergency medical care and transportation.

November 8: David Monington pleads guilty to forging wildland fire training certificates.

Dec. 3: USDA Inspector General finds no misconduct in Esperanza fire deaths

(no specific date) Very Large Air Tankers play a significant role in fire suppression in California, and possibly Australia.
Martin Mars:

And now YOU have a chance to select the stories that you consider to be the most significant.  Choose FOUR from the list below.

Choose four of the wildfire stories you consider the most significant of 2009.

View Results

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Lessons learned from Klamath Hot Shots vehicle rollover

The Lessons Learned Center has released a document that details some of the lessons learned from the August 22 vehicle rollover:


LESSONS LEARNED – Driving Incident (Rollover)

Date/Time: August 22, 2009 @ 09:00 Hours             Location: Highway 99, Los Molinos, CA

Employee Title: Klamath Interagency Hotshot Crew  Purpose: Returning to Home Unit


Eight personnel from the Klamath Hotshots, Klamath National Forest, were involved in a vehicle accident on Highway 99 near Los Molinos, CA. The crew was returning to their home unit from a fire assignment on the Plumas National Forest and was in the northbound lane when a semi-truck traveling south crossed over into the northbound lane and struck the crew vehicle with a side mirror. This pushed the crew carrier into a sideways skid, crossing oncoming traffic and leaving the roadway, where it experienced a ¾ roll landing on the driver’s side of the vehicle.

One crew member with significant injuries was transported to a hospital in Chico, CA and admitted for treatment. The rest of the crew sustained minor to moderate injuries and were transported to a hospital in Red Bluff, CA and treated then released. One of these was later taken to the hospital in Redding and also the hospital in Chico for further evaluation and treatment. All personnel have been released from the hospital and have returned home.

Lesson(s) Learned:

Seatbelts must be worn at all times. It is State Law and our Policy.

Alert driving prevented a potentially much more serious accident. The driver of the crew carrier saw the semi-truck drift and took evasive action to avoid a head-on collision. Likewise, the driver of the crew carrier following the carrier in the accident was alert and saw the semi-truck drift and the side-strike occur. The driver of the second vehicle immediately slowed down and took evasive action to avoid being struck by the semi-truck.

Be aware that exits/emergency exits may not function after vehicle damage. The crew carrier roll-over damaged the frame of the box (crew passenger area) to the point that the rear door and the emergency exit (side window) would not open. Crew members from the other vehicles tore the emergency exit window (frame and all) from the vehicle to extricate injured personnel. Other occupants crawled through the pass through window between the cab and the box and exited out the broken windshield area.

Drills/training for emergency response pays off. Uninjured crew members did an excellent job of treating injured personnel, dealing with hazardous materials (fuel) spills, and performing traffic control after the accident.