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    Exclamation Mill Bay emergency crews fall victim to icy highway

    Mill Bay emergency crews fall victim to icy highway

    Two fire trucks, ambulance succumb to conditions "beyond black ice"

    Rob Shaw, Times Colonist
    Published: Friday, February 08, 2008

    When Mill Bay fire Chief Terry Culp pulled up to the scene of a jackknifed truck in Cobble Hill Thursday morning, he had every intention of helping victims, not adding to the accident.

    But, at 5 a.m., the Trans-Canada Highway was "beyond black ice, it was just a curling rink," Culp said. The chief was forced to watch as two of his fire trucks went skidding into a tractor-trailer that had already crashed. An ambulance, meanwhile, had also succumbed to the icy conditions and was resting in the ditch.

    "We were just passengers in the vehicles; we couldn't steer, we couldn't brake," Culp said.


    A few firefighters were sent to hospital and later released with aches and bruises, Culp said. "We're very lucky; it could have been worse," the chief said. The northbound lanes of the highway were briefly closed until the vehicles were cleared.

    The crashes underscore just how dangerous Vancouver Island's main road, the Trans-Canada Highway, can be on a cold winter morning, police say.

    An unpredictable and spotty weather system means it can be raining in some areas, such as Crofton, but icy in neighbouring communities, such as Chemainus, said Const. Dave Hay, who works with the RCMP's South Vancouver Island Traffic Services.

    "The road conditions were as bad, if not worse, than I've ever seen before," added Culp, whose fire crew is a frequent user of the highway.

    "Any vehicle that would have been travelling the road at that time of the morning would have been putting themselves in peril. The road was that dangerous."

    Damage to the fire trucks has not yet been calculated. Mill Bay's other fire vehicles should be able to handle the workload until repairs are done, Culp said.

    There's not much drivers can do by the time they find themselves driving over black ice, other than not make any sudden movements or braking, Hay said. "The whole idea is to anticipate it," he said of the ice. Bridges, areas where water pools and heavily shaded sections of the highway are the usual spots to watch for black-ice conditions.

    rfshaw@tc.canwest.com
    Mill Bay emergency crews fall victim to icy highway

    ****Sorry ... couldn't get the picture to work. It's too big and won't let me re-size it****

    Two damaged emergency vehicles sit at the edge of an icy Trans-Canada Highway Thursday morning near Mill Bay.

    Mike Szaszik, Canwest News Service

    http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/index.html
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    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    HAH! YA beat me to it, but I didnt see this until AFTER
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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