At 0305hrs, Wake New Hope Stations 1 and 2 (along with Knightdale FIRE Engine 132, Raleigh Engine 19 as closest unit, and an EMS box alarm from Wake County EMS and Eastern Wake EMS) were dispatched to I-540EB and Buffaloe Rd for a report of an overturned vehicle.

First arriving units found the crash at Tarheel Club Rd and I-540, advising the vehicle had driven off Tarheel Club Rd, and rolled down the embankment onto I-540. All occupants of the vehicle had fled the scene prior to their arrival. With there being no injuries or entrapment, New Hope Car 1 reduced the assignment to New Hope Rescue 14, Engine 4, and Engine 1. Engine 1 was assigned to provide scene protection and blocking for the North Carolina State Highway Patrol while they investigated the crash, until the vehicle could be removed, which is standard practice for our department.

The crews were standing in front of the Troopers’ cars waiting for the tow truck, when they heard what was described as an explosion from the back of Engine 1. A black SUV had crashed into the rear of the engine, moving Engine 1 forward 12 inches, before coming to rest against a road barrier. With the drive severely injured and pinned in the vehicle, Chief Price requested assistance from Knightdale, as well as additional EMS resources. The crews from Wake New Hope Fire Department immediately went to work to free the trapped driver. Once the drive was extricated, he was turned over to EMS, and transported to WakeMed Health & Hospitals with serious injuries.

“Complacency kills firefighters” Chief Price said afterwards. “If we hadn’t had Engine 1 there protecting the scene, that car would have crashed into the trooper cars, and then into our firefighters, or struck our firefighters at full speed. Using the truck as a barrier definitely saved the lives of all crews that night.”

Engine 1 will be out of service for several months while repairs are completed. During this time, reserve Engine 3 will be used as the primary engine out of Station 1.