Fire truck collides with SUV, rolls while en route to emergency

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on August 16, 2013 at 6:21 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 19 at 7:02 PM

Map: Seventh St. & Indian School

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PHOENIX – Four firefighters were injured when their truck rolled after colliding with an SUV early Friday morning.

It happened at Seventh Street and Indian School Road shortly after 3:30 a.m. The Phoenix Fire Department truck was en route to a house fire.

Investigators say Engine 9, lights flashing and siren blaring, was going through the intersection of Seventh Street and Indian School Road when it hit an SUV.

That SUV veered off the road, coming to a rest near a gas station on a corner.

The fire truck went up on to the curb and plowed through a bus stop before rolling over and coming to rest in the street. Video from the scene showed the truck, which weighs tens of thousands of pounds, on its side in the middle of the road about 100 yards from the intersection, debris scattered all over the street.

One witness said the crash looked like something out of a movie.

"I saw the fire truck on two wheels ... going down the road until it finally fell right there," Lou Grassi said. "I thought it was like watching a movie. It was crazy."

Investigators are trying to piece together the moments leading up to the crash. According to preliminary information from a police lieutenant on the scene, the SUV had the green light.

A spokesman for the fire department explained that while responding to emergency calls, all fire vehicles must come to a complete stop at red lights and stop signs so the engineer can be sure the intersection is clear before proceeding.

At the same time, drivers are supposed to yield to emergency vehicles that are running with lights and sirens. Arizona law mandates that drivers pull as far to the right as possible to clear the way and stay there until the emergency vehicle has passed.

The firefighters who were on the truck were able to crawl out of the rolled rig through the front windshield.

“All of them were up and alert and talking when other crews made it to them,” Phoenix Fire Capt. Jonathan Jacobs said.

The four firefighters and the driver of the SUV were transported to a local hospital. It's expected that all of them will be released later in the day.

The intersection of Seventh Street and Indian School will be closed through the morning rush hour. Drivers were being advised to avoid the area, using 16th Street or Central Avenue as north-south alternates and Camelback or Thomas roads as east-west alternates.

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