Ten injured as fire trucks collide

Bravest down: All 10 firefighters involved in the accident were transported to local hospitals in serious conditions, with the driver of Engine 257 — pictured here — having the most severe wounds.
Photo by Paul Martinka

Two fire trucks collided at E. 103rd Street and Avenue J in Canarsie today, propelling both trucks through a man’s brick wall and sending 10 of New York’s bravest to local hospitals in serious conditions.

Engine 257 was racing south bound on E. 103rd Street, while Engine 170 traveled west on Avenue J — sirens blaring on both vehicles — when they collided at 7:30 am.

The fire engines skidded to a stop in long-time Canarsie resident Cecil Lowe’s front yard, mere feet from his Avenue J home, and demolished his $22,000 brick wall in the process.

“When they hit, I ran to the window and saw two trucks rolling towards me,” Lowe explained. “I said ‘holy lord,’ and prayed they would stop before hitting the house. The closest truck ended up about a yard from the house.”

Lowe described the violent impact as akin to an explosion.

“Yeah i felt the vibrations, boom, like a bomb went off,” he said.

All 10 fire personnel involved in the accident, who were on their way to asses an odor of smoke emanating from a Paerdegat Avenue North home at the time of the accident, were sent to hospitals in serious conditions.

The driver of Engine 257 suffered the most severe injuries, and emergency workers had to pry him out of the vehicle with a jaws of life apparatus.

“One of the passengers was walking around dazed, the driver was unconscious,” said Lowe. “He was bleeding, the blood was all over the door. They had to use the jaws of hell, or whatever they call it to get him out.”

It is unclear if the fire engines were totalled in the accident, or if they can be salvaged, according to an FDNY spokesman.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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