ROXANA, Ill. – A Roxanna fire truck was struck on Interstate 255 Thursday as first responders tended to a separate emergency on the interstate.
“We place our vehicle in that position to protect us from exactly what happened today,” said Roxanna Fire Chief Daryl Trask.
He said traffic on I-255 was down to one lane while they helped someone with a medical emergency. That’s when a driver smashed into the back of their fire truck. Four to five firefighters were on the scene at the time, as well as several police officers and two paramedics.
“Our main concern was for the people involved,” Trask said. “Our people weren’t injured and obviously the victim that did strike us, we hope he’s all right. We’re praying and thinking about him.”
Chief Trask said that driver was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries. His car appears to be totaled and the fire truck may be a total loss as well.
“Damage wise, we believe the vehicle is probably a total loss. We have a lot of structural damage to the vehicle as well as the frame,” he said.
Trask said he hopes the firetruck will be covered by insurance. If not, he may have to turn to the city for help. He said it’ll be a while before they have a new truck out on the roads.
“Luckily, we do have a second engine as a back-up, so we are covered there, but it does limit our response,” he said.
Trask said this accident is a stark reminder of how dangerous their job can be and how drivers can help make their workspace a little safer.
“We prefer if you slow down and move to the far right-hand lane. Just give people a safe zone where they’re not having to worry about traffic and people driving around them,” he explains.
The chief said the truck was 13 years old and they usually try to keep them in operation for 20 to 25 years.