Late last week, a collision between a 45-foot fire truck and a semi tractor-trailer caused a major shutdown of the Ohio Turnpike, a closure lasting more than five hours.
The trucking accident occurred shortly before midnight on April 19th. The ladder truck was in the process of responding to reports of a fire on the westbound lanes of the turnpike at the time of the accident. Due to a miscommunication, the fire truck had to use one of the emergency turnaround exits, and in the process of doing so was hit in the side by the semi truck. There is some question about whether the fire truck’s lights were on in sufficient time to warn the semi’s driver.
Fortunately, the accident did not produce any serious injuries, although one firefighter did ultimately require stitches to close a wound to his head.
According to reports, the collision caused a major shutdown. The center and outside lanes of the highway were closed completely for five hours. Multiple emergency vehicles, including another fire truck and ambulances, were dispatched to the collision site, further tying up personnel who could have responded to the original fire reports.
The accident further illustrates just how difficult it is to avoid a collision with a semi when things do unfortunately go wrong. Neither a semi nor a fire truck is easy to control, and when circumstances dictated that the fire truck use the emergency lane, the semi apparently had no time to correct its course, fire engine lights or no lights.
The exact circumstances of the accident are still under investigation, according to Ohio highway patrol personnel who responded to the scene. The shutdown was finally alleviated in the early morning hours of the 20th, when large commercial towers were brought to the scene to move the rigs. The fireman who was injured was released from the hospital after his treatment and is doing well, according to reports.