Fire Engine Damaged in Crash That Injured Good Samaritan in Dover
A Dover fire vehicle was struck and damaged at the same crash site where a good samaritan was seriously injured while trying to help another motorist on Saturday, officials said.
According to a release from Dover fire, a fire engine was struck by a 24-foot box truck after Dover Fire & Rescue was dispatched to the scene following a three-vehicle crash that occurred earlier that morning near Exit 7 on Spaulding Turnpike.
"It is unfortunate that one of the roles of our emergency vehicles on the highway is to provide an area of safety from oncoming traffic, but it is a reality," Dover Fire Chief Paul Haas said in a statement. "Our members wear high visibility vests over their protective gear, the entire rear section of all our vehicles are covered in reflective markings, and there is no mistaking our emergency lights from a significant distance away. Yet somehow, every day across the country, drivers still manage to crash into fire trucks, police cars and other emergency vehicles, sometimes with deadly results."
According to the statement, no injuries were reported in the collision between the box truck and fire engine. Still, both vehicles suffered significant damage and the fire engine has been taken in for repairs.
The fire engine was apparently "positioned and used as a protective shield for the injured and public safety personnel from oncoming drivers," according to the statement, and Haas said the incident was clearly a result of motorists not obeying the Move Over Law, which "calls for drivers approaching emergencies on the highway to reduce speed and 'vacate any lane that is wholly or partially blocked as soon as possible.' It also makes clear to give emergency vehicles 'a wide berth […] to public safety personnel, any persons in the roadway, and vehicles displaying blue, red, or amber emergency or warning lights,'" the statement said.
"Although our vehicle was struck, we would clarify this incident as a 'near miss,'" Haas said. "Because the potential for injury or loss of life that could have occurred had the ladder truck not been blocking as it was. We will review this incident internally as a reminder of the hazards that we face every day when operating at traffic accidents. We ask that the driving public also take note, and to reduce speed and provide extra distance to ensure no additional injuries occur to our public safety personnel."
Dover Fire & Rescue had responded to the scene after Leo Quirk, 64, of Effingham, was transported to Portsmouth Regional Hospital after he was struck by a vehicle after pulling over his own vehicle to assist another motorist that had crashed. The third vehicle lost control and struck Quirk.
New Hampshire State Police said all aspects of this crash remain under investigation, but it is believed road and weather conditions could have been contributing factors.