3 Black Jack firefighters injured when firetruck crashes

Three Black Jack firefighters were injured when the fire truck they were in crashed into a tree late Tuesday night.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 12:28 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - Three Black Jack firefighters were injured when the firetruck they were in crashed into a tree late Tuesday night.

Authorities say the firefighters were responding to a house fire when a car pulled out in front of the firetruck. The firefighter driving the truck tried to avoid colliding with the other car before the firetruck went off the road and hit a tree.

“These are very dangerous times and being on any type of roadway is dangerous,” Assistant Fire Chief Paul Peebles says.

Assistant Chief Peebles says three firefighters were injured and two of them have been released from the hospital.

“Anytime you see your men or women go down, it’s hard on a department or district,” Peebles says.

The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District is loaning Black Jack its spare firetruck, which allows both departments to be fully serviced.

“We have to make sure we always remain vigilant about paying attention to where we are and our surroundings,” Assistant Chief Peebles says. “Sometimes people will pull out in front of us. Sometimes people won’t pull over to the right side. It’s important that we always pay attention.”

It’s not the first time something like this has happened in the Metro.

In 2021, two St. Louis City medics were taken to the hospital after an ambulance was T-boned by a car.

In 2022, a driver rammed an ambulance in the city.

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson says he’s seen an increase in the number of people who don’t move over for his crews.

“It’s almost like, okay we hear lights and sirens but we’re gonna continue to do what we do,” Chief Jenkerson says. “Or even worse than that, they’re texting, they’re talking on the phone. The way I look at it, they ignore us.”

Chief Jenkerson says because of that, first responders need to be hyper-aware and concentrated while out on the roads, which adds an extra level of stress.

“Just responding to an incident, be it an emergency medical call or a fire, that is almost as dangerous as what happens when we get on the scene,” Chief Jenkerson says.

Chief Jenkerson says when a firetruck is badly damaged, it can be detrimental.

“We don’t have brand new trucks sitting in the wings waiting to go,” Chief Jenkerson says. “We use these trucks minimum 20 years so we try to get as much as we can out of them. So when a truck is destroyed like that, that weighs heavily on the fire chief. That weighs heavily on the members themselves. Thank God the members are okay.”

The crash is under investigation.