ROLLOVER CRASH OF MAPLE RIDGE (BC, CANADA) ENGINE 1-SEAT BELTS WORN BY ALL
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
On January 27, 2008 at approximately 3:00 a.m., Maple Ridge Engine-1 was responding to a report of a motor vehicle accident with trapped occupants. While on route to the accident, Engine 1 encountered glare black ice on Dewdney Trunk Road; this resulted in the Engine going sideways down the road and eventually spinning around backwards and striking the curb near the intersection of 210th Street and Dewdney Trunk Road. At this point the truck rolled onto the driver’s side shearing off a large hydro transmission pole at the base.
The pole carrying 60,000 kva transmission lines then fell down onto the truck. This resulted in a blinding series of arcing for the firefighters and a large power outage in Maple Ridge, and parts of the neighbouring community of Pitt Meadows. The Captain on the Engine had the presence of mind to tell his firefighters to remain where they were and to not exit the truck; he also radioed Dispatch to call for assistance and updated the Rescue Truck, which was responding just blocks behind them, to caution them of the road conditions and tell them what happened. When the Officer of the Rescue Truck arrived on scene he resisted the temptation to rush in and assist the trapped firefighters, instead he set up a perimeter to protect the public and informed BC Hydro of the situation.
The fact that all four firefighters in the fire truck were not injured and reported for duty shift the next evening is nothing short of a miracle and a testament to the professionalism and training of all the firefighters involved. Maple Ridge Fire Department has a very strict training policy in
regards to seatbelt use, which in the end saved these firefighters from serious injury. We are very proud of the actions of all the firefighters involved in this incident, and without question relieved that no one was injured. However, it is extremely unfortunate that the damage to Engine one is so extensive that it is not likely to be repaired, fortunately this truck is over 20 years old and was scheduled to be replaced with a new truck that arrived last week.
The moral to this story is that seat belts save lives; also it can happen to you. The driver of the Engine is one of our most experienced driver’s. Prior to him joining the department as a fulltime firefighter his fulltime job was as a professional truck driver and one of his steady routes was driving semi-trucks up the Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler everyday in all kinds of winter
conditions. In the end it was adherence to guidelines, good training and a culture of “safety comes first” that resulted in these firefighters going home to have breakfast with their families.
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