Mike Wilbur

UPDATE: DRAMATIC PATERSON, NJ ENGINE VS. ENGINE CRASH THAT INJURED 8 DETAILED IN NEW REPORT

PATERSON — After colliding at an intersection on their way to a fire scene, two Paterson fire engines careered onto the nearby sidewalk of one of the city’s main thoroughfares.

One truck crashed through the wall of a supermarket busy with evening shoppers. The other truck veered along the sidewalk, scraping the side of the supermarket building, before coming to a stop when it hit a tree about 200 feet past the intersection.

Those dramatic details of the Sept. 10 incident came to light this week in police and fire department reports released through New Jersey’s open public records law.

Eight Paterson firefighters — four from each truck — were injured in the crash, which happened at the corner of Broadway and Straight Street at 8:12 p.m. on a Saturday evening.

One of two Paterson Fire Dept. trucks that were involved in an accident on Straight St. and Broadway in Paterson, NJ on September 10, 2022. This truck crashed into a tree on Broadway.

But the number of casualties could have been higher. Somehow, no one on the sidewalk or inside the store was injured, officials said.

“It was terrible,” said Riken Patel, manager of the Golden Mango supermarket, who was working when the fire truck crashed through the wall of the store. “We were all shocked. I’m just thankful that nobody was hurt.”

Investigators have two video recordings of the collision — one from a security camera outside a church on Broadway and another take by a witness using a cell phone, according to the police reports.

City officials have not revealed whether the drivers of the two engines were following fire department policies as they rushed toward the fire scene on Main Street when the crash occurred.

One of two Paterson Fire Dept. trucks that were involved in an accident on Straight St. and Broadway in Paterson, NJ on September 10, 2022. This truck crashed into a tree on Broadway.

The main police report on the incident was compiled by an officer who was driving behind one of the fire trucks on his way to the same emergency.

The police report said one fire truck, Engine 5, was heading south on Straight Street, while the other, Engine 1, was going west on Broadway when they converged at the intersection. The collision happened when Engine 5 made a right turn onto Broadway and struck the passenger side of Engine 1, the report said.

“Let it be noted all units had their emergency light and siren activated,” said the police report.

The report did not say which fire engine had the green light at the intersection.

The fire department report estimated the damage from the crash at $3.5 million. But Paterson Fire Chief Brian McDermott said that estimate seemed “very high.” The chief put the damage to the vehicles and supermarket at about $1 million.

Earlier:Eight Paterson firefighters hospitalized after engines collide on way to call

McDermott said insurance investigators have viewed the two damaged fire trucks but have not yet determined whether the two vehicles could be salvaged. The police report says the two fire trucks were 2016 models. It was not clear on Thursday how much the city paid for them.

The firefighters injured on Engine 5 were the driver, Louis Dearani, along with Michael Hascup, John Gonzalo and James Damato. The firefighters injured on Engine 1 were the driver, Kyle Messineo, along with Jonathan Sanchez, Gremier Alemany and Kevin Habrahamshon.

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