Submitted to OnFocus – On Monday morning, the Fort Atkinson Fire Department, along with JCSO deputies and Ryan Brothers Ambulance, was working an accident scene on Northbound Highway 26 near the North Highway 26 Business entrance to the city; a pickup and bumper hitch type stock trailer had overturned in the median. The pickup had four passengers and the overturned trailer contained several head of cattle trapped.
FAFD Chief 8101, Engine 101 (with duty officer CH8103), Utility (Traffic Control) 115, Ryan Brothers Ambulance 736 and FAFD Heavy Rescue Squad 108 responded on the initial alarm at 0923 hrs.
At approximately 0940 hrs., while crews were working to extricate the cattle from the stock trailer, another vehicle lost control while approaching the accident scene, struck a bridge abutment and then struck FAFD Squad 108.
Appropriate traffic lane control had been set up using Utility 115 approximately 1/3 mile south of the accident scene on the inside lane of the northbound Highway 26. Traffic was being moved to the outside lane using a 300+ foot long traffic cone taper as indicated by commonly accepted traffic incident management practices.
The approaching vehicle moved to the outside lane as directed but failed to reduce speed and lost control coming across an elevated bridge just south of the accident scene. This caused the vehicle to strike the concrete retaining wall on the inside of the bridge then spin around and strike the FAFD vehicle (S108) which was being used in the extrication of the animals and was positioned to protect the work area.
Squad 108 was first struck in the right rear corner, the striking vehicle then spun around and struck the side of the truck before coming to rest against the truck. The force of the striking vehicle’s impact caused the 46,000 pound fire truck to move sideways approximately three feet.
After the secondary crash, more FAFD units were requested along with additional JCSO units and Jefferson Fire Department. The additional units closed Highway 26 northbound and rerouted traffic into business 26. The highway was closed for approximately one-hour while the accident was documented and the scene was cleared.
No civilians were injured in the initial crash and no FAFD or JCSO personnel were injured in the secondary crash. The cattle were successfully removed from the stock trailer and transferred to another truck and all involved vehicles were towed from the scene.
Squad 108, a 2002 Perce Saber heavy rescue, sustained approximately $40,000 in damage. Damage included right side compartment doors, moderate body damage and significant structural damage and shifting to the frame of the body. The truck remains in limited use service and FAFD personnel will be contacting Pierce Fire Equipment to have a formal estimate completed and scheduled the repairs as soon as possible.
“This incident shows the importance of proper staffing and apparatus response to crashes on busy roadways. Properly positioned blocking apparatus prevented the striking vehicle from entering the accident work area and striking firefighters, law enforcement or involved civilians. In this case an important apparatus was damaged but it did protect our most valuable assets, our emergency responders,” the department wrote in a statement.
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