Four Chicago Firefighters Hurt After Engine Hits Car

Authorities say they suspect alcohol played a role in the collision between a Chicago fire truck and a carload of people in the West Pullman neighborhood on the Far South Side that injured 10 people.

None of the victims -- including three children and four Chicago firefighters -- suffered life-threatening injuries when the truck, responding to a fire call, collided with a mid-size sedan at Halsted and 128th streets, police said. A female passenger did suffer a broken neck, authorities said.

One source said the sedan's driver, a man, had a blood-alcohol level over the legal limit. A second source said police were seeking felony charges against the driver. Both sources requested anonymity because they weren't cleared to discuss the matter publicly.

A police spokesman said he was awaiting further information and declined to comment.

Engine No. 62 was southbound on Halsted with its lights and sirens activated, on its way to a call of nearby, around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said just after the crash.

Firefighters saw a car stop as they approached 128th Place, Langford said. "They assumed it was stopped for them," he said.

But the car started moving again and the truck could not stop in time -- broadsiding the car on the passenger's side, Langford said.

Rescue crews worked to free five people trapped inside the crumpled vehicle. Those five victims were all hospitalized, but later were determined to have suffered no serious injuries, police said. All four firefighters, including a lieutenant, were taken in good condition to MetroSouth Medical Center in Blue Island.

The car was left mangled and "caved in" on its passenger side from the wreck, according to a police spokesman.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service