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FDNY Fire Trucks Involved In 2 Separate Accidents In Astoria, Queens

1 Fire Truck Collides With MTA Bus, 1 With Car

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Multiple people were injured in separate accidents involving FDNY fire trucks just two blocks apart in Astoria, Queens Sunday afternoon.

In the first incident, 14 people were hurt when a Fire Engine 312 collided with a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus while racing to the scene of a fire, officials said. That accident happened just after noon at the intersection of Ditmars Boulevard and 21st Street, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.

“The fire truck came blazing through, sirens,” said witness Lucy Treadway. “We’re watching it, we’re watching it, and then all of a sudden, bam!”

A terrified Treadway was walking her baby when it happened, and said the fire truck driver didn’t even hit the brakes.

“He obviously didn’t look,” Treadway said.

The rig wound up with a mangled front bumper and the driver’s windshield knocked out.

The 12 civilians and two firefighters who were hurt suffered non-life threatening injuries. Four of the injured victims were taken to the hospital along with the firefighters.

“I was on the phone, and when I came back to it, I was on the other side of the bus,” Torres said.

Witnesses say the fire engine had its lights flashing and siren on as it headed to the active blaze nearby.

“We saw the fire engine truck actually speed right past us, and I turned on my wife and I said, ‘Oh, he’s going awful fast,’” said witness Lenny Gomez.

“I’m looking, and suddenly I saw him hit the bus and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, he hit the bus!’” said Elaine Gomez.

One of the firefighters was taken to NewYork-Presybterian/Queens Hospital with head and neck injuries, officials said. The other suffered a cut to the back of his head and was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, officials said.

Three more firefighters on the truck were uninjured, officials said.

“The bus then careened into two parked vehicles,” said FDNY Chief James Daly. “We didn’t have any injuries in those two vehicles.”

Ten of the injured people were on the bus, including Vanessa Torres, who said she was knocked unconscious by the impact.

“I was on the phone, and when I came back to it, I was on the other side of the bus,” Torres said.

Witnesses say the fire engine had its lights flashing and siren on as it headed to the active blaze nearby. The fire at 801 26th Ave. was later brought under control.

Both the NYPD and the FDNY were investigating the crash, but one fire chief on the scene said even fire trucks have to stop at red lights.

“You’re supposed to stop at all red lights,” said the chief, who did not provide his name. “That’s the law — stop and then proceed through the intersection.”

In the second incident, a fire engine collided with a blue four-door sedan at the intersection of 21st Street and 21st Avenue, officials said.

“It’s shocking — two things in one day?” a woman said. “It’s crazy!”

Witnesses confirmed Engine 292 also had its lights and siren on. At least one woman in the sedan was hurt.

Neighbors said drivers need to get out of firefighters way.

“You hear a siren, you pull over to the side or whatever,” said Michael Smilios of Astoria. “Stop your car and let them do their business. They’re going for an emergency to save lives.”

Even though none of the injuries were serious, many people were shaken up by two separate accidents in one neighborhood.

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