Firefighter breaks leg in collision

Firefighter breaks leg in collision

27 February 2007

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USA — A Glynn County firefighter isrecovering from leg injuries sustained Saturday when the fire engine he wasriding in collided with a logging truck in heavy smoke and fog en route to awildfire near U.S. 82.

James Stewart, 46, of the Glynn County Fire Departmentsuffered a broken leg in the crash about 4:35 a.m. Saturday on U.S. 82 betweenGeorgia 99 and Interstate 95, said Senior Trooper F.K. Mack of the Georgia StatePatrol.

Stewart was listed in stable condition Monday at theBrunswick hospital of Southeast Georgia Health System, said Cindy Robinson,hospital spokeswoman.

He is expected to be discharged soon and could be offduty for about five weeks, Glynn County Deputy Fire Chief Jimmy Ellis said.

The firetruck’s driver, Craig Renshaw, 43, wasn’t injured.Neither was the logging truck’s driver, Lavelle Deen, 59, of Nicholls, Mack said.

No charges have been filed in the accident, which remainsunder investigation by state troopers.

Preliminary investigation indicates the fire engine wastraveling about 20 mph when it collided with the rear of the logging truck. Thecollision resulted in major damage to the front right end of the fire engine,Mack said.

Renshaw acted immediately to prevent a potentialchain-reaction crash on the highway, where Mack said visibility was reduced to”absolute zero” because of the smoke and morning fog.

Using a flashlight as a signal and yelling a warning, heran down the highway a short distance to alert other motorists of the accidentahead, Ellis said.

“He kept them from getting hit from the rear by anoncoming semi-tractor trailer truck. It managed to stop just about a foot awayfrom the engine,” Ellis said.

The smoke and fog were so bad that authorities closed thehighway from 5 to 9:20 a.m. Saturday – detouring motorists along alternateroutes in Glynn and Brantley County.

The firefighters were responding to a wildfire thatinitially broke out Friday morning in woods between U.S. 82 and Emanuel ChurchRoad, he said.

The blaze, which is under investigation, began in a pileof old wooden railroad cross ties and spread to adjacent woods. It burned about30 acres before being contained by firefighters and Georgia Forestry Commissionrangers.

The smoldering fire flared up early Saturday. Smoke fromthe wildfire was compounded by smoke from a controlled burn in a neighboringarea and the morning fog, Ellis said.

No structures had been reported damaged by the wildfire,county officials said.

An estimate of the damage to the firetruck has not beencompleted. Information wasn’t available about when it would return to service.

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