It was rainy and travel conditions poor when the tones sounded at on Dec. 26 at 8:45 a.m. and Newport Engine 2 responded with lights and sirens to a priority one EMS call. They didn't make it.
Newport News Chief Scott Liebold said that the engine was responding to an EMS call, when a red SUV was spotted in the path of the responding apparatus.
"The civilian vehicle and the engine both tried to avoid each other," Chief Liebold explained.
"The civilian vehicle went one direction and the apparatus went another, but the vehicles made minor contact. Engine 2, who was trying to avoid the civilian vehicle struck a light pole and came to rest inside Leon's Market,located at 36th and Wickham Ave. The civilian vehicle struck some trash containers and stopped."
Chief Liebold said that the engine had three crew members on board, while there were two civilians in the vehicle.
Two firefighters had minor injuries. They were examined and treated on scene, then released without transport. They were understandably shook up. The civilians were offered aid and transport, but they refused assistance.
The store was unoccupied at the time of the crash. Fire crews shored up the building to prevent collapse. Engine 2 is being evaluated for damage.
"The second crash occurred as Engine 101, a reserve engine, had only a driver onboard," Chief Liebold said. "When Engine 2 was involved in the crash, Engine 101 was dispatched to handle the original EMS call. Engine 101 made it to the call, and two providers rode with the medic unit to assist with patient care. The driver of 101 was headed back to quarters to await the providers' return."
The chief explained that as Engine 101 arrived at the intersection of 37th and Orcutt Street around 9 a.m., that a minor collision occurred with a civilian vehicle. The driver of the apparatus was not injured. The two civilians in the vehicle were offered aid and transport and they refused.
Engine 2 is a 2003 Pierce Enforcer. The make and model of Reserve 101 wasn't available.
Chief Liebold said they are waiting on police reports of the crashes and that they are under investigation.
Police have not said if charges are being filed in either of the incidents.