Report Number: 07-0000839
Report Date: 03/29/2007
A box alarm assignment of 5 engines, one truck, one rescue squad, and one BLS unit were dispatched for a heater on fire in a residential dwelling. A Christmas parade was forming on the main response route for apparatus from three fire stations due on the box. There were fire police located at several locations and intersections along the parade/response route, but all intersections were still controlled by standard traffic control devices (traffic lights and stop signs).
The second due engine company (of which I was the officer) was responding emergency, with lights and sirens activated, on its normal response route in an easterly direction. The two-way street was lined with spectators awaiting the Christmas parade. The apparatus was traveling at normal response speed for this location (25-30 MPH). As the engine approached the town square, the engine operator reduced speed and proceeded through the green light. Fire police were standing at both sides of the intersection, waving flashlights.
The first-due truck company was responding from the parade staging location, not from their normal station. They were proceeding south on a street that crossed the main street/parade route at the square; the same street the second-due engine was traveling on.
Visibility at the town square intersection is somewhat obscured due to the close proximity of the buildings to the curb. Both apparatus entered the intersection at the same time, the engine traveling east and the truck traveling south. The truck made an immediate left hand turn. Both apparatus nearly collided on the east side of the intersection, and proceeded through.
Investigation after the incident found that the engine company proceeded through the intersection with the green light. The truck company proceeded through a red light, at the direction of the fire police. The fire police did not have control of the intersection.
Multiple fire police giving different directions to different apparatus was found to be the cause of this near-miss.
Several changes in policy occured after this event:
1. Fire Police are not to attempt to direct apparatus through intersections while they are responding to an incident. They are responsible for halting all non-emergency traffic and keeping intersections clear.
2. Fire apparatus responding to incidents from locations other than their normal station will communicate such via radio when they advise they are responding to the incident, i.e. "Engine 1 responding from Main and South streets."
To view the whole report