Close Calls: Fire Captain Struck Minutes After Arrival: Part 1

Dayton, OH, is in an area of traditional seasons: it’s hot in the summer, cold in the winter and pretty much everything in between. In this month’s close call, Captain Barry Cron of the City of Dayton Fire Department describes what we have read so...


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Dayton, OH, is in an area of traditional seasons: it’s hot in the summer, cold in the winter and pretty much everything in between. In this month’s close call, Captain Barry Cron of the City of Dayton Fire Department describes what we have read so many times before. It was a “routine run” with some late-winter, cold weather when he was struck on a “simple” crash scene and literally thrown into the air.

The City of Dayton Fire Department is a fully career fire and EMS department. With 12 stations and 368 personnel serving 56 square miles and a population of 142,000, the department provides the Dayton community with professional firefighting, rescue services, basic and advanced pre-hospital emergency medical care and transportation. The department operates eight engine companies, four ladder companies, one cross-staffed heavy rescue company, seven EMS transport units with a minimum of two district chiefs on duty each shift. In 2012, the department responded to 35,683 calls for fire, emergency and related services.

Interestingly, the city self-manages its fire facilities and emergency and non-emergency fleet. It also maintains and repairs small motors, tools and other emergency equipment and provides vehicle repair services to 28 other jurisdictions in a recently renovated garage facility in north Dayton. In the Dayton area, automatic mutual aid and cooperative firefighting is the norm and it is not uncommon for numerous departments to respond on a first-alarm assignment, ensuring closest and most-appropriate unit response. Our sincere thanks to Dayton Interim Fire Chief Jeffrey L. Payne and Captain Barry Cron for their assistance in the preparation of this month’s close call.

The following account is from Captain Barry Cron, who was struck at the scene:

As many of these stories begin, our shift, which started at 7 A.M., on March 25, 2013, began pretty much as any other. The night before, we had experienced a light snowfall, which I believe was no more than a few inches. On my way to work traveling Route 35 (not the section where the incident occurred), the traffic had slowed due to the built-up snow on the roadway. Nothing surprising for Dayton at this time of the year. As is also common this time of the year, the day warmed quickly as the sun rose, melting the roadways and drying them as the day went on. The day for our ladder crew ended up being kind of light in terms of run volume.

We ended up having our last run prior to this one at about 9:30 that evening so we really didn’t know what the weather had done outside. At 5:25 A.M. the following day, we were dispatched to Route 35 eastbound with Medic 11, an ALS (advanced life support) transport unit, for a report of an auto accident with a car on its top. Before we even made it to the ladder, the run had already been upgraded to a trapped response, which adds a district chief, extra engine, Rescue 1 (our extrication/heavy rescue company that is cross-staffed by an engine crew) and our Incident Support Unit (ISU), which is a lieutenant EMS supervisor.

Timelines quoted here were taken from dispatch information and the dash cam video timer. I include times because I feel it’s important to understand how quickly all of this took place.

Enroute to the scene

We were enroute at 5:26 and had arrived on scene at 5:31. Conditions enroute were such that it looked like we had received a little precipitation during the night in the form of light snowfall or possibly freezing rain. We experienced no problems enroute, although my driver had slowed in response to the conditions. This was not our first-in district. It would have been Engine 17’s response, but they were on an EMS incident at the time; we were second due.

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