OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The Omaha Fire Department is in need of another fire engine. There wasn’t anything wrong with it until firefighters were on their way to a call three weeks ago.
It’s something that is engrained in our heads during driver training.
When an emergency vehicle is around with lights and sirens, pull as close to the right of the road as possible and stop. The fire truck, rescue squad, or police cruiser has the right of way.
Engine three is new in fire years. It’s been on the road for Omaha firefighters for less than a year and that’s as far as the odometer will go.
It’s been totaled.
“It was one of our brand new engines,” said Battalion Chief Scott Fitzpatrick, Omaha Fire Department.
Earlier this month, just south of downtown at 10th & Martha, an SUV stopped as a fire engine was headed to a medical call. According to the incident report, as the fire engine turned left on the diagram, the black vehicle passed the stopped car and smashed into the truck.
The driver had to be cut out of his car, Omaha Police cited the 20-year-old man for his second DUI.
“I know people are in a rush to do things. But we’re there to help someone’s loved one,” said Fitzpatrick.
The crash broke the axle on the fire truck. When medics continued the call in the rescue squad, another fire truck had to be called for backup.
A replacement truck isn’t cheap, it cost around $700,000.
“The biggest thing is to be aware of your surroundings. Look for us – we’re out working and trying to help people,” said Fitzpatrick.
On average the Omaha Fire Department sees eight crashes a year with its vehicles. This was unusual.
Typically, the majority of crashes are when firefighters have stopped and are tending to a fire or rescue call and someone runs into the back of a fire truck.