Exploding Bumper Injures California Firefighter

May 2, 2008
The injury occurred when the front bumper of the car turned into a projectile.

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OAKLAND, Calif. --

An Oakland firefighter is hospitalized Thursday night with a broken leg after a bizarre accident suffered while responding to a car fire. The injury occurred when the front bumper of the car turned into a projectile.

The firefighter crew had responded to a home on Halliday Avenue about 11:30 Wednesday night. The firefighters successfully protected the home from the flames, but while the car was burning, the front bumper blew off and struck the female fighter in her left leg.

KTVU News found at least three instances around the nation where similar incidents have happened.

Sol Sulaiman of Oakland's Broadway Smog and Tune-Up Center explains, "The front bumper attached to two shocks that are filled with gas, under pressure with metal housing. When it gets heated up, it could blow up." Sulaiman says the design protects drivers in an accident.

Lieutenant David Brue with the Oakland fire department says firefighters have had discussions with vehicle manufacturers about changing the bumpers. The fire department does train its firefighters to beware of the potential for parts from burning vehicles to become dangerous airborne projecticles.

The name of the injured firefighter is not being released. But the Oakland fire department says she will be hospitalized for two to three days, and she will need surgery to repair her injured leg.

Copyright 2008 by KTVU.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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