We are glad our brothers and sisters are all ok. Remember the move over laws! We use the large fire apparatus to block and protect the vehicles involved in a crash and US!
Everyone has seen the roadside signs that state "bridges freeze before roads". The science behind that explains bridges have no ground under them to act as an insulator, therefore the road surfaces paved on top of them are subject to freeze before road surfaces on regular ground. When we combine bridges with automobiles, rain, and temperatures at or around 32°F, things can get a little wild.
At 6:29 this morning January 18, 2020 Henrico Engine 1, Engine 21, and Fire Medic 1 were dispatched to interstate 295 northbound in the area of the interstate 95 interchange for a motor vehicle wreck. Engine 1 arrived on scene to find Hanover County Engine 406 already on scene as they were dispatched to the same call. Engine 1 took a position behind Engine 406 to help protect the area for the firefighters that were operating on scene. Engine 1's crew exited the rig and were headed to assist Hanover 406's crew when they heard a loud crash behind them. They turned to see that a vehicle had made impact at the back corner of Engine 1 with enough force to move the rig forward about three feet. The crew went to assess and help the driver of the vehicle that made impact. The driver was triaged as a yellow patient and was transported to the hospital by Fire Medic 1. Engine 21 arrived during this time and took a blocking position behind Engine 1 to protect the new scene. Two more minor collisions happened behind Engine 21 during the whole incident. None of the crews operating on the scene were injured, and Engine 1 did a phenomenal job protecting the scene.
A combination of rain, freezing temperatures, a vehicle traveling at highway speed, and slippery conditions on the bridge over the Chickahominy Swamp definitely played a role in all of these incidents. We can't stress enough for drivers to MOVE OVER, and SLOW DOWN. The shoulders/medians are full of disabled vehicles and emergency, or recovery vehicles these days. This is why you may see fire engines blocking entire lanes on interstate calls. The incidents are sometimes minor in nature, but we need these rigs to protect US. It's crystal clear that without Engine 1 on scene this morning, the crews of Henrico Engine 1 and Hanover Engine 406 may have suffered another devastating blow just a little over a year since the incident on the same highway involving Hanover Engine 406 that took the life of our friend Lt. Brad Clark.
Long story short - slow down for weather and don't get distracted. Slow down for US. If you see blinking lights of ANY color, SLOW DOWN, and MOVE OVER. We want to be there for people that need us, but we all want to make it home to our families at the end of our shifts as well.
As for the vehicle that struck the engine, we don't know how it happened. We don't know what lane the vehicle was in before it struck Engine 1. The only thing we know is that the bridge located a little way behind the engine was slick. Please keep that in mind when looking to blame someone for the incident. We don't know all the facts, and we're of course wishing a speedy recovery to the driver.
Sidenote: Engine 1 is at the shop now, and we're awaiting word on the extent of the damage to the unit. We'll make another post as we find out more information.
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