Downtown Miami

Recordings detail chaos at fire truck crash scene

Officers and rescue personnel work on the scene of a major crash involving two fire trucks in Miami Tuesday near Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Officers and rescue personnel work on the scene of a major crash involving two fire trucks in Miami Tuesday near Jackson Memorial Hospital. Miami Herald Staff

Miami Fire Rescue released recordings on Friday of its response to the crash of a fire engine and a paramedic truck at a major traffic intersection near Miami’s hospital district earlier this week.

First responders speaking over a fire rescue tactical channel called for an attic ladder and a backboard to help remove firefighters from the truck that had flipped over and transport them to the hospital.

“Let’s just get them on a backboard to the hospital,” one of the responders said in a recording of the communications, in a tape obtained by The Herald. “I think we got everyone out of the engine already.”

The recordings, which took place between 2:40 and 3 p.m., came over a tactical channel used for emergency workers who are responding to an incident. This is separate from a dispatch channel, which takes emergency calls and sends out vehicles.

The fire truck was heading to a call around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at 800 NW 13th Ave. with sirens blaring when an EMS vehicle speeding toward Jackson Memorial Hospital drove through a red light and crashed the tail end of the fire truck. The impact sent both vehicles spinning and tossed the fire engine on its side after it smashed the hood of an orange Pontiac carrying at least two people. Both fire rescue vehicles came from Station 5, 1200 NW 20th St.

Assistant Fire Chief Adrian Plasencia said Friday he could not release the name of the drivers because they had been injured and were in the hospital. He said an internal investigation was underway and more details would be released at its conclusion.

Twelve people were injured in the crash, including seven firefighters, and a grandmother and her two grandchildren, who were being transported in the paramedic truck to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Additionally, there were at least two people in the Pontiac.

Police and emergency vehicles rushed toward the intersection after the crash.

“We’re going to need for sure seven rescue [vehicles], I need at least seven rescues on the scene,” said another responder from the crash site at Northwest 12th Avenue and 14th Street.

By the time a woman called 911 to report the collision, the response was already in process.

“Two emergency vehicles hit each other, they flipped over,” said the woman who called in.

“They flipped over?” said the dispatcher. “Oh, we have it already. We got it already.”

In a second recording that took place between 3:15 and 3:45 p.m., responders were beginning to leave the scene.

“Tell the rescues that are there, as many of them as possible, as soon as they transport the patient and can get their units back in service, we have only three units in the city right now,” said the fire rescue command center. “See if they can clear [the scene] as soon as possible.”