Courtesy WDIV
Reprinted with Permission

A Chicago-bound Amtrak train with at least 76 people aboard struck a Detroit fire truck Monday that was stopped on the tracks in southwest Detroit.

"When I pulled up, there was an accident. The police was on the track, the fire engine came, he stopped on the track," said Clyde Hunt who witnessed the crash.

The fire truck was responding to a crash involving a car and a semi truck near Lonyo Street and Dix Avenue.

WDIV Raw Video: Train Slams Into Fire Truck

Investigators said a firefighter was inside the truck trying to move it when it was hit by the Amtrak train.

"Next thing you know you heard the sirens going off for the train and he just hit the fire truck and the fire truck flew up in the air. It was nothing like I've ever seen before," said eyewitness Bob McLean

Executive Fire Commissioner James Mack said the $600,000 ladder truck and a Detroit police car were there helping a family that had been in an earlier crash that involved their car and a tractor-trailer.

Mack said a firefighter had minor injuries that involved cuts on his body.

Images:Train Smashes Fire Truck
Watch Raw: Train Slams Into Fire Truck

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari in Chicago said 72 passengers and at least four crew members were aboard the train. He said several people sought treatment for minor injuries like head and back pain.

"All I saw was the ladder, the white ladder, hit the train and just swing around and hit the light pole," said train passenger Aaron Timberlake. "It was incredible."

"She could feel him kind of hit the brakes, but I thought he was just stopping for the station. But then you definitely felt an impact," said Jill Breeden who was on the train with her children to visit their grandmother.

The train made a stop in Dearborn, where some passengers, including Breeden, got off, but then continued on its way to Chicago.

Copyright 2010 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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On the tracks? I can see blocking a roadway with the truck for safety, but the TRACKS, last time I checked a train can not stop on a DIME.
Anytime we are even near the tracks we have communications call the railroad companies and advise them what we are doing. So the train can stop or slow down atleast. Does this not happen everywhere, or had they not gotten to making that call? Either way this was bad all the way around. Hope they are safe.
Railroad has advised on a two track system (dont know if this is a two or three track system) if you must stop traffic, over and above calling in to report track blocked, place steel bar, or anything metal and unpainted that will allow current to go from one track to another or jumper cables from one track to the other, will automatically send a RED signal -just in case your message got dropped in the system, this will assure an oncoming train (if not too close allready) willl be to a crawl and able to stop.
"I'm very upset," said executive fire commissioner James Mack. "I'm going to make it known that this is not acceptable and we'll do some training." Gee ya think!
Detroit is not a small town vol. dept. so where was there ISO? If there was an Incident Safety Officer on scene what was he/she thinking? My heart goes out to all the injured Firefighter and civilian and wish them a smooth recovery, unfortunatly this is an accident that could have been avoided.
unfortunatly this is an accident that could have been avoided.

"An event that takes place without one's foresight or expectation; an undesigned, sudden, and unexpected event".

This was no accident. Common sense and logic would dictate that you don't park on railroad tracks. Railroad tracks = expectation that a train will be coming at some point.
The city doesn't have the money for this type of thing to happen. Thank God Everyone is OK on this one!!!
Not only parked on the tracks, but from some of the pictures I've seen they laid out from the truck and committed to that position.
Good to know Darrell. In all our training with the railroads, no one ever taught that.
How many times have I said SAFETY FIRST, well what happen here, hope they did not get hurt bad, what the H_ L _

Sorry, but
Darrell, I have to advise you against doing this. You can cause a bigger accident then you had on your hands. First of this is HIGHLY illegal. ALL railroads are goverened under the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) making tampering with them a FEDERAL offense. I have 17 yrs in the rail industry as well as in the fire service. Your way of shunting the track circuit to throw a red will work, only if the train has NOT already passed the signal. If they are past the signal then your actions will have no affect other then to place an item on the track that will now become a flying projectile when the train strikes it. Also if you take a train running at a moderate speed, say 50mph, and you drop the signal in thier face, now the crew has to take imediate action. Lets say that they now apply the air on the train to slow down and they have an undesired emergency application of the brakes. Now lets say it is your average freight train in the area of 10-12,000 tons. With the emergency application of the brakes you now create all kinds of unwanted in-train forces. You can actualy cause a major derailment this way. Now we have gone from a simple car accident to a major incident that could require evacuations of over a mile area. Also some food for thought. Since the railroads are all federal, if they haul hazmat you are now dealing with the Dept. of Homeland Security. Since placing an object on the rail is considered to be an act of sabotage you can figure out how that is going to end. Your best thing is to call the emerg. number for the railroad and make sure everyone is clear of the tracks. If you need to work inside a close area, place people with radios in a position where they can see anything that is approaching and give you ample warning to clear. If you would like please feel free to contact me and we can discuss this as much as you would like. Lets all stay safe out there!!
Good point, Todd. Now I now why no one taught that technique! Stay safe!

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