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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    Feb 2000
    S.W. Virginia

    Default Responding Engine hits fallen tree

    Because you never know what might be around the next curve in the road . . . .


    You can still see the twigs and bark from a tree that crushed the front of this fire engine.

    "Visibility was low. The roads were still moist from the rains we had had. Evidently this tree had fallen not long ago, and it had the road completely blocked," Franklin County Fire Marshal, Bennie Russell, said.

    Russell, was following engine seven to a house fire around 5-30 this morning.

    "I came upon a tree across the road. It shocked me. Then I saw the engine over to the side, and I thought the engine tried to go around the tree and gotten stuck, but the engine had actually run into the tree."

    You can only see about a hundred feet of skid marks where the driver slammed on the breaks. In that time he made the split second decision to run the truck into the embankment, rather than taking the chance of flipping it in the ditch.

    "It would have been much worse if he had gone to the right. The way it was, no one was injured."

    Engine Seven is Boones Mill's number one truck. In 20 years, it has done a lot for the community. Today, it may have saved one man's life.

    "The way these engines are built when something impacts the front, the side doors are made to crumple out instead of in. That's what happened here, which helped protect the driver."

    "The body is collapsed, but we still have some pretty strong integrity here even though we had a 14 inch diameter pine tree to go through the windshield."

    There were two other firefighters on the back of the truck. One actually decided at the last minute to move from the passenger seat to the back of the engine.

    "I'm very very happy that no one was hurt. This could've been a very tragic situation."

    This is a local dept. in my county and I'm somewhat familiar with this rig so I'd just like to clarify one part There were two other firefighters on the back of the truck. One actually decided at the last minute to move from the passenger seat to the back of the engine. "

    These folks were NOT on the tail-board or "Rear" of the truck - they were in the older open style rear facing jump seats on the rear of the Cab.

    Also - the "ditch" in this story is actually about a 6-8 foot drop off on the shoulder of the road.

    Saw some pictures on the 6:00 news last night - hoping to see the truck in person today if it's being held where I think it is - but it took a pretty good shot to the Officers Side A Post from the tree.

    My opinion, the driver made a good call and did some fast maneuvering that prevented a much worse outcome.

    No word yet on cost / extent of damage, but my guess is given the age this one will be a write-off and a new truck is in the not too distant future.

    Company 7 still has a 2000 Gal. Custom Cab Pumper / Tanker, a 1000 gal Conventional Cab Pumper, and a Skid Mounted Brush Unit in service and will (as always) be supplemented by other area departments.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
    Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.


    WOW. Be interesting to see photos of the truck, but just glad that there were no significant injuries from this event.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    Aug 2005


    Glad to hear no one was injured to bad. What about 100 feet worth of skid marks? How fast was this truck going? And it was foggy out to or what not.

  4. #4
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Mar 2001
    Pt. Beach, NJ


    Not being there, 2 things in that article jumped out at me.

    Visibility was low
    about a hundred feet of skid marks
    Those 2 things just don't seem to belong together. Glad to hear they are Ok.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    In my house


    I'm with you Bones. I'm glad they are OK, but it would seem that given the conditions they might have been going to fast. Having bit my tongue all day on this one I had to spit it out (tongue is getting sore). And that is all I'm going to say about it.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber plisken's Avatar
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    Jul 2004
    NW Wisconsin


    N2Dfire : One other question... Is it SOP to leave the Officers seat empty while responding... Who answers the radio, the Drive has enough to do (look for fallen trees and stay on the road.) You said they had two in back, one up front... who is the officer? Sounds like speed vs. conditions.... but still why no one else up front???
    Be SAFE!!! Go home when your shift is done and enjoy life.
    This is MY OPINION and ONLY MINE.
    Not my Departments/IAFF/WPFF

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    Feb 2000
    S.W. Virginia


    At this point you have all the same details I have. I haven't been able to talk to any of the involved parties nor did I get to see the truck yesterday (and I have to go out of town for the weekend starting after work today so it's not likely I'll get to do either of these any time soon).

    However - I will try to answer the questions as best I can.

    Speed - I don't know. It hasn't been reported to the "general public" and as I said before I haven't talked to any involved parties.

    Visibility - the vast majority of our 798 Square Mile county is foothills of the Blue Ridge so early in the morning (esp after rainy weather) it's quite common to go from an area of 100% clear visibility to an area of very very low visibility fog in a matter of a few feet (or one turn). I DO NOT know the exact stretch of road they were on so I can't say if this is or is not the case in this instance.

    Additionally - the weather the night before wasn't anything we would consider abnormal or severe (NOAA Climatology reported Wind Gust of 21 MPH for the Roanoke Area on 6/12/07) so there was no reasonable expectation for downed trees at that time.

    Bones42 & HotTrotter - In the case of consistent and / or prolonged "low visibility" I'd agree with you 100%, however see my reply to dday05 above.

    plisken - To my knowledge there is no SOP in place in any agency in this county to have the Officers Seat filled while responding.

    Being low manpower All volunteer systems it is actually quite the norm to have apparatus respond with driver only so while I agree it's nice to have someone else working lights, siren, radio, etc. and let the driver focus on driving - the reality is it just doesn't happen here and it's something we are accustom to and allow for (i.e. light & siren controls w/in easy reach of the driver & minimal radio traffic for apparatus. Mostly they just listen to what's going on and only have to mark en-route & on scene - both of which can be done w/o the apparatus moving).

    As to "Who is the officer" - refer back to my comments about Driver Only situations. In all likelihood a line officer was already on scene or en-route to the scene POV. With the response system we have, just because you happen to catch the front curbside seat doesn't mean you're an "officer" or in charge of anything - except in the very unlikely event that your rig arrives before anyone else - in which case the D/O becomes the "Officer" and the rest of the crew (if there are any) become the attack team.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    For the record (since I'm also tired of biting my tongue) my intention with posting this wasn't so it could be arm chair QB'd to death but rather to remind everyone that you never know what to expect so always be prepared (seat belts in this case).

    Seems a couple of you have already assigned fault and blame based on a couple of phrases in one news report. You have no true understanding or knowledge of the terrain or local weather patters and conditions.
    You assume that "Visibility was low" automatically meant everywhere and that the driver was operating the vehicle too fast.

    Maybe he was - I don't know - but I do know that I don't have all the facts or near enough information to make that kind of judgment and I don't understand how any of you think that you do.

    This is NOT a rant or in any way shape or form meant to be an attack back at any of you nor is it meant to be a defense for the guys at Company 7 - it is simply a reminder that sometimes we are a little quick to jump to conclusions with only a small part of a bigger story.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless

  8. #8
    Forum Member Lewiston2FF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Niagara Falls, NY, USA


    Here we go. We are so good at it!

    Shawn M. Cecula
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000


    Love the pic Lew.....

    I don't care what happened as long as no one got hurt.........some people are too busy extending their finger looking for someone to point at that it blocks the only fact that matters..........everyone went home and no one got hurt.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine

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