Houston Fire Trucks Collide, 9 Firefighters Hurt

A Houston Fire Department pumper truck broadsided an 80,000-pound ladder truck injuring nine firefighters and two others.


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HOUSTON --

A collision between two fire trucks in southwest Houston left 11 people, including nine firefighters, injured Monday, KPRC Local 2 reported.

A Houston Fire Department pumper truck traveling northbound on Dunlavy Street broadsided an 80,000-pound ladder truck traveling west on Westheimer Road with enough force to lift the ladder truck off the ground at 10:45 a.m.

The ladder truck then rolled, hit a woman on a bicycle, snapped an electric pole and came to rest on top of a car.

"They T-boned. The lady on the bicycle -- the ladder truck hit her and the rig flipped over on top of the car," witness Bernard Proctor said. "It was one of the wildest sounds I've ever heard -- sounded like a little mini-explosion. Boom. Like two bulls hitting."

"I turned around and saw the fire truck up in the air and part of it hitting the pole and immediately sparks going and the pole going down. And I saw the bike but didn't see if there was something on it," witness Paula Murphy said.

Five firefighters were on the ladder truck and four were on the pumper truck. They were all injured.

Three firefighters were taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital, where two were treated and released. The third was hospitalized in stable condition. The firefighters in the cab of the pumper truck suffered the worst injuries.

Five others were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, where they were treated and released.

The ninth was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.

Officials said the cyclist was hospitalized at Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical condition.

The woman driving the car was able to crawl out. She was treated and released from Methodist Hospital.

"I hope all Houstonians will keep them in their thoughts and prayers -- the firefighters and civilians involved in this serious accident," Mayor Bill White said.

The accident knocked out electricity in the area to about 1,800 customers. Power was restored Monday afternoon.

The fire trucks were answering a call of an apartment fire in the 2100 block of San Felipe Street when the collision occurred. Fire officials said there ended up not being a fire at the complex. Both trucks had lights flashing and sirens blaring.

Jack Potts was having coffee at a corner cafe. He said the ladder truck appeared to stop in the middle of the intersection.

"The fire truck was basically taking up the whole intersection of Dunlavy. Nothing could get through," Potts said.

But investigators still are not sure why the pumper truck's driver failed to see the ladder truck.

"We know where they were going and clearly they met here, but we don't know why," HFD Chief Tommy Dowdy said. "This has happened in other cities where fire trucks had issues like this. This is the first time to my knowledge in Houston that we've had a severe accident with two of our trucks."

The cause of the collision is under investigation.

The victims' names were not released, pending notification of next of kin.

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