Two Fire Fighters Killed When Pumpers Collide
Two members of the Syracuse, N. Y., Fire Department were killed, and five others injured, when two pumpers collided at an intersection on July 12. Lieutenant Robert J. McCarthy, who was riding with Engine 7, and Fireman Enrico J. Vendetti, driving Engine 6, died of multiple injuries.
Both units were responding to a fire at 808 South Townsend Street. Engine 6 was proceeding east on East Jefferson Street, and Engine 7 was going south on South Townsend. Engine 6, according to reports, entered the blind intersection and hit Engine 7 in the back of the driver’s seat. Both apparatus swerved and crashed into a gasoline station on the corner.
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Lieutenant McCarthy was thrown from the seat and dragged between the two pumpers. He fell clear and the wheels of his apparatus passed over him. Fireman Vendetti was thrown from the driver’s seat of his pumper.
By the time a wrecker was able to pry the two vehicles apart, Lieutenant McCarthy had died. Vendetti was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead shortly after arrival. Rescue operations were complicated by the danger of fumes from spilled gasoline.
Meanwhile, two other engines were dispatched to the fire, two blocks south of the accident scene. Three persons were arrested and held for investigation of the fire which gutted a two-story frame building. One of those arrested at the fire was identified by police as a recent escapee from a state hospital.
Firemen had responded to another alarm at the same address three and a half hours earlier, and had extinguished a mattress fire in an alley adjacent to the building. They noted at that time that the occupants appeared to have been drinking.
Fire Chief Harry Coon said the cause of the collision could not be immediately determined.