DELAWARE COUNTY, Ind. — Two volunteer firefighters were hurt on the job. The Salem Township firefighters were trapped inside a flipped fire engine.
“(I) just thank God was in the right place for everybody,” said Salem Township Fire Chief Todd Lewis.
First responders were called out to a barn fire along 300 West in Daleville around 1 p.m. Tuesday. As crews loaded up and left the scene, a vehicle drove towards them, and the driver of the fire engine tried to move over.
Chief Lewis isn’t sure if either driver did anything wrong or if this was just a complete accident.
“On the roadway, there’s about a foot to a foot and a half drop off on each side, so when a big truck gets so far over it’s an over correction issue, trying to get it back squared up. (He) couldn’t get it done in time,” said Lewis.
The fire engine hit a utility pole and became entangled in power lines. The two firefighters were stuck upside down for 45 minutes until crews could safely get them out.
“(We) had to delay getting them extricated out of the vehicle because of the live power lines,” said Lewis.
Chief Lewis tells CBS4 both men were alert, and they were both wearing their seat belts. The passenger had minor injuries, some scrapes, and bruises. He was treated and released from the hospital. The driver, who is a fire captain and an EMT, was hurt worse and underwent surgery Tuesday night. Lewis described his injuries as "severe."
“It’s heartbreaking because you don’t want anyone hurt. Everyone needs to come home safe, all in one piece, walking, talking. You don’t want anyone to not come home,” said Lewis.
Overnight, surrounding agencies will step in to take Salem Township calls so firefighters can focus on one of their own getting better.
The two firefighters have been with the department for more than 30 years combined. Their names have not yet been released.