Two Firefighters Injured Responding to Indianapolis Crash

Indianapolis firefighters at the scene of an extircation.

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By Rita Reith

Two firefighters were injured while responding to a dump truck vs. semi crash that badly injured two other people in Indianapolis.

Two men were hospitalized in critical condition after slamming into the rear end of a stopped semi on I65 S near the Washington St exit. The semi driver told firefighters that he was headed southbound on I65 and had slowed to a stop after two other vehicles collided in a fender bender on the interstate.  The two-car incident which happened minutes earlier began to slow traffic as vehicles moved to avoid the wreck and the two drivers, who had pulled to the far inside. One of those drivers was transported to with slight pain.

The semi driver told firefighters he was sitting still when the men in the dump truck hit him from behind, crushing their cab underneath his semi-trailer. Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) crews arrived to find the two vehicles connected and the two men severely pinned underneath. Tactical crews explored several options for removing the men but limited overhead access restricted their lifting capability. Using common options such as a rotator to lift the semi trailer up were shelved due to the positioning of the wreck under the interstate bridge. The driver of the semi assisted fire crews by removing the cab of the semi off the trailer, thereby allowing firefighters to manually lower the front of the trailer. This created a pivot at the rear wheel base and raised the tail end of the trailer.

This operation helped relieve some of the pressure off the landscape truck where the men were pinned. After crews stabilized the semi and the dump truck using cribbing and struts, two high-pressure air bags were deployed to lift the semi trailer up. Tactical crews then raised the bed of the dump portion of the truck and, using a recip saw, cut away an attached trailer, which allowed for better access to remove the cab around the occupants. In all, crews mitigated the entire incident in 60 minutes.  

One firefighter sustained a laceration to the head while another suffered a laceration to the hand. Both were transported, received stitches, and were sent home by doctors.

RITA L. REITH is a battalion chief with the Indianapolis (IN) Fire Department and serves as the agency’s public information officer.

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