FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4 February 2015
Contact: Steve Lipsher, Public Information Officer
Office: (970) 262-5209
Lake Dillon Fire engine struck by two vehicles
A new Lake Dillon Fire engine was struck by not one but two vehicles in separate crashes on Wednesday afternoon, prompting fire officials to implore motorists to slow down on slick roads and around emergency workers.
“We are very, very lucky that no one was hurt in these wrecks, including our firefighters, state troopers and the Summit County Ambulance crew, who were out exposed on the road as they responded to an earlier crash,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Dave Parmley. “These collisions definitely could have been avoided if drivers had been moving at appropriate speeds for the conditions.”
With Summit County finally receiving new snow this week after an unseasonably warm and dry January, slush and icy have accumulated on the pavement in many areas, and black ice – which looks like water – can make driving conditions particularly treacherous.
The crew of the 2014 Rosenbauer fire engine – acquired last March for $550,000 – was responding to an earlier crash and medical problem just west of the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 at nearly 11,000 feet in elevation when the engine was struck about 1:30 p.m.
The first vehicle slammed into the rear of the engine; moments later, a second car skidded into the median and then rebounded into the driver’s side of the 48,500-pound engine, which was flashing its red-and-blue emergency lights and cordoned off by traffic cones at the time.
At that point, firefighters and the Colorado State Patrol requested that the interstate be closed to further traffic until the crashes could be cleared.
Although the damage to the engine is not extensive and is confined to the left rear of the vehicle, it will need to be taken out of service and replaced by a backup until repairs are completed.
“Emergency workers have a very dangerous job when responding to incidents on the highways as it is,” Parmley said. “We ask that motorists please be conscientious by slowing down and giving plenty of space to our crews.
“We cannot stress enough: It is far better to slow down to a reasonable and safe speed when encountering wintry road conditions and arrive safely at your destination than to end up talking with your insurance company, or injured, or killed due to a crash,” Parmley continued. “Slippery roads pose hazards for everyone – even four-wheel-drive vehicles – so be considerate of others and concerned for your own safety by slowing down.”