Windsor Locks Fire Department (WLFD) Rescue 4 has been taken offline after being struck by a passenger vehicle while operating at the scene of a motor vehicle rollover on I-91 South early Wednesday morning.
At 3:39 AM on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, Windsor Locks Fire Department (WLFD) and Windsor Locks Lions EMS (WLLAC) were requested to I-91 South in the area of Exit 40 by the Connecticut State Police (CSP) for a single vehicle rollover. The vehicle was located in the grassy area by the Route 20 on ramp to I-91 South and the driver was able to self-extricate. WLFD Engine 5 was positioned in the far right and breakdown lanes to act as a blocker for the ambulance and police vehicles on scene. The Engine 5 crew placed cones and maintained the use of emergency lights to warn motorists of the scene. WLFD Rescue 4 was also requested to provide additional protection for those on scene. Rescue 4 was positioned in the two rightmost lanes with emergency lighting activated and cones placed prior to the apparatus. At 4:08 am, while personnel conducted operations related to the original accident, a Ford Escape entered the scene and collided with Rescue 4 causing significant damage to both vehicles.
The Ford Escape hit with such force that it moved Rescue 4 approximately 8 feet from its original location and rendered it inoperable. Thankfully, Rescue 4 was unoccupied at the time of the crash and no fire personnel were injured. The driver of the Ford Escape received minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital for evaluation by WLLAC. Due to the now expanded scene, WLFD Engine 3, additional CSP resources, and a mutual aid engine from the Warehouse Point Fire District were requested to respond.
Thank you to Bosco’s Towing for taking the time to bring Rescue 4 to the WLFD station and allowing members to remove rescue equipment so it could be redeployed to other apparatus. Due to this incident, WLFD will be without a heavy rescue truck for an extended period of time. Mutual aid units from surrounding towns will need to be called should additional rescue equipment be needed at incidents. Should Rescue 4 need to be replaced rather than repaired, manufacturers are currently taking at least two years to build and deliver new fire apparatus.
Rescue 4 was on I-91 to protect responders from being hit if a vehicle entered the scene and it did its job. There were no major injuries or fatalities in this instance, but it could have been very different if crews were still near or in the apparatus at the time of impact. Seeing the damage to this large truck is a sobering reminder to SLOW DOWN AND MOVE OVER when approaching emergency vehicles, maintenance vehicles, or tow vehicles parked in the roadway. It is the law. The driver of the Ford Escape was cited by the Connecticut State Police.