A van carrying fire personnel to the Hayman fire crashed Friday night on Interstate 70 near Parachute, Colorado, and authorities confirmed four fatalities, the first of this fire season in Colorado.
Details remained sketchy and officers on the scene could not be reached immediately.
The Colorado State Patrol said a convoy of eight vehicles was traveling on the interstate, en route to the 137,000-acre wildfire that still is only half-contained southwest of Denver.
"When the van crashed, all the vehicles stopped. When we
arrived on the scene, there were about 100 firefighters telling us what happened," said Don Moseman, a spokesman for the patrol.
He said it appears the driver was momentarily distracted or possibly was reaching for something inside the vehicle, but that the investigation was just beginning.
Moseman said the troops were coming to Colorado from La Grande, Ore., in the northwestern part of the state.
The 15-passenger van that crashed was carrying 11 people and heading east, Moseman said.
Others in the van had injuries ranging from minor to serious, and they were taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, or other hospitals in Glenwood Springs and Rifle.
Moseman said some other firefighters and support personnel in the convoy remained in the area, while others continued on to the fire.
"We had a lot of distraught people out there," Moseman said.
"The vehicle was very heavily damaged. Of course in a convoy, some of their group saw it happen. It was very rough for them."
The accident happened about 5:30 p.m. about 170 miles west of Denver.
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Thread: Colorado LODD
06-22-2002, 12:21 AM #1
Colorado LODDBuckle Up, Slow Down, Arrive Alive
"Everybody Goes Home"
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