Virginia Firefighters Handle Serious Multi-Vehicle Crash, Extrication

On April 11, Henrico County firefighters were dispatched at 0611 hours to Interstate 95/Interstate 295 for reports of a tractor-trailer accident. Responding were two engines, squad 21, an aerial ladder truck, and an ambulance.

Crews discovered a serious situation. Squad 21 arrived first to find a tractor-trailer vs. tractor-trailer under ride. Four cars and one more tractor-trailer were involved in the accident. Roadway debris caused blown out tires. No injuries were reported from the cars involved. The rear tractor-trailer was a reefer truck that was going to Richfood; it only carried pallets and cardboard. The first truck was carrying 80,000 lbs. of bundled, brass stock. The rear tractor was actively leaking diesel fuel. The driver of the rear truck was trapped.

As patient assessment, accident scenario were accomplished additional resources were dispatched. In a special call: additional engine, two ambulances and EMS # 2. In an additional Ssecial call: additional engine, additional ladder truck, heavy rescue, and Broyles Towing. Additional resources included; haz mat units #1 and #3, two battalion chiefs and two additional chiefs.

The scenario was the front frame of rear truck touching rear axle of front trailer. The brass stock bundles came out, and were on both sides of the driver resting on the dashboard. One bundle to the drivers' left, one bundle touching the drivers' belly, and three bundles on the drivers' side right. The dash was wrapped around the driver from engine being pushed into the cab.

K12; Hydraulic spreaders, cutters, and rams; reciprocating saws; Come-a-longs; heavy duty Wreckers were used in the operation.

The extrication began while Engine #11 handled Haz Mat. Squad #21, Truck #12, Engine #1, and Truck #1 began cutting brass stock (each bundle contained 20-30 2" solid brass stock) with K12. Removal of door and roof were accomplished. A dash roll could not be performed at first because of the weight of brass on top of dash. The two heavy duty Broyles wreckers were used to pull the trucks apart after two bundles were cut away. With weight off the dash, roll back was performed, the patient was extricated from the drivers' side.

Challenges included that it was time consuming to cut all the brass stock. A bundle was cut, then one or two pieces of stock; they were removed ; and cutting continued until the entire bundle was cut. Crews worked in diesel fuel spill.

The patient was transported by state police Med Flight to VCU Medical Center. The extrication took 1 hour 50 minutes.