Three crashes and a close call was the tally for Surrey firefighters responding to a report of an incident northbound on Highway 99 in South Surrey Thursday night.
Acting assistant Chief Jerry Siggs said the chain of events all unfolded within a span of about 45 minutes, just north of the Serpentine River overpass – and he credited crews’ training with preventing further chaos.
“It was foggy and icy and people weren’t paying attention,” Siggs said of drivers.
It all began just before 6 p.m. Jan. 16, when firefighters responded to the 13900-block of Highway 99 for a report of a two-vehicle incident.
While at that scene, a second minor crash occurred, in which one vehicle rear-ended another.
“After that, a single vehicle was travelling at a high rate of speed and it slid to a stop nearly striking the first vehicles,” Siggs said.
“Then, as the tow trucks arrived and began removing the initial accident scene, a Chevy Camaro side-swiped a police cruiser and struck our fire truck, causing extensive damage to our truck as well as the Camaro.”
Siggs said the male Camaro driver was transported to hospital with undetermined injuries. The Camaro, which ultimately rear-ended the fire truck, sustained significant front-end damage.
Surrey RCMP say the Camaro driver was issued a ticket for speeding relative to conditions and for an unsafe lane change.
Emergency responders were not injured, and Siggs believes training that teaches the firefighters to angle their trucks so as to create as large and as visible a barricade around the scene as possible played a key role.
“Our crews did a fantastic job of using their vehicle to protect the accident scene,” he said. “It did exactly what it was supposed to do.”
Siggs said the situation is a good opportunity to remind drivers to “slow down and move over when you see emergency vehicles.”
“Just give us some space to work,” he said. “It’s the law now, but people still don’t do it.”