Photos and report from Rita Reith
Four Indianapolis firefighters and one civilian are very lucky to be all right after a head-on collision near the intersection of 38th and Butler.
Engine 24 was responding to a difficulty breathing run when the collision occurred. Engine 24 pulled out of the station and was headed westbound with red lights and sirens activated when a silver car crossed the center line and impacted the engine head on. The collision occurred about two blocks from the station.
The collision forced the engine further west and into a Conoco gas station sign. Upon impact, the engine slid through the eastbound lanes across 38th, left the road, hit the sign, a light pole, several concrete barriers and a vacuum/air pump, leaving a debris field about two football fields long before stopping. The second collision with the pole and barriers was so violent that the mobile data terminal (MDT) flew out of the front windshield on the officers side.
Had the engine not collided with the sign and the other barriers at the corner, it is believed it would have travelled further across the parking lot and hit the occupied gas station structure along with nearby fuel pumps. Thankfully the engine did not flip nor was anyone seriously hurt, including the driver of the car.
The firefighters are shaken but extremely grateful to be relatively unscathed. The driver of the car is in police custody as the investigation into what caused him to cross the center line continues. The acting engineer is a 18½-year veteran of the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) who has been on Engine 24 C Shift for seven years. This was not Engine 24’s primary engine but a reserve Ferrara engine from the IFD reserve fleet. Engine 24’s primary engine is also a Ferrara engine. Engine 24 made 3,296 responses in 2018.
RITA L. REITH is a battalion chief with the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) and serves as the agency’s public information officer.