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A newly acquired fire service appliance crashed out of service in Port of Spain this morning while its crew was responding to a fire.

Three fire fighters and two civilians were injured when the fire truck ploughed into a car, crushing it.

The crash happened along Independence Square at around 5.30a.m.

None of the injures are considered life threatening.

Police were told that two fire trucks were heading east along Independence Square, responding to a house fire in Laventille.

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One of the appliances struck a Nissan Wagon that was attempting to turn onto the roadway from the vicinity of the cathedral.

The fire truck overturned.

Police were told that the driver of the wagon heard the fire siren, but believed it was only one fire truck, so when the first truck passed, he attempted to merge onto Independence Square North, not realising that there was a second truck following.

The crashed caused traffic gridlock.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Marlon Smith said he was glad officers had not been severely injured.

“From what I have been told, the officers have not received any serious injuries. They have been medically examined, and X-rays were done, and they have no broken bones or any serious soft tissue wounds. I know that they are complaining about pains about their body, and the driver complained about a pain in his knee, but thankfully that seems to be it. They are still receiving treatment right now, but from my information, they are to be discharged soon, probably by this afternoon (Thursday),”Smith said.

He was not able to give any estimate for damage done to the vehicle, or how soon the truck would be operational again.

“Right now our officers will be examining the vehicle, see how bad damages were, if it was just cosmetic, or if major parts need repairing. I know in the interim it’s absence from our fleet will be felt because it was one of the appliances which were recently acquired, and it provided assistance not only in this district, but to locations as far as Tunapuna. So I know we will feel its absence. But we will be working swiftly to hopefully bring it back into operation,” Smith said.

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Leo Ramkissoon, President of the Fire Services’ Association expressed similar views.

He spoke with the Express shortly after visiting the injured officers.

“I have visited the POS General Hospital where the officers are currently undergoing medical assessments. The officers involved in the accident are lucid but shaken up. I also encountered briefly the occupant of the other vehicle which was said to be involved in the accident and he seems to be in good shape barring minor injury.

“Anything further will be determined by hospital staff on completion of assessments of all involved.

Although the loss of use of an appliance would be a blow to the Fire Service especially given our chronic shortage of appliances and equipment, we are still thanking to God that there have been no reported loss of life and major damage or destruction of public property which could have easily been the case. Basically, we know the situation could have been much worse, and the Association is grateful that it was only what it was. We will continue to pray for the speedy recovery of all those involved,” Ramkissoon said.

He too said the absence of the appliance would be felt by the fire service.

“I cannot ascertain yet the full extent of the damage to the vehicle, but what I can say is that the obvious damages would render the vehicle inoperable at this time. In respect of its effects on our fleet, it is no secret that we have been grappling with the shortage of appliances. Therefore, this incident will only serve to create further difficulties in maintaining an adequate response capability,” Ramkissoon said.

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