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Both Greenbelt fire engines out of commission after Beltway crash

- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Greenbelt Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad was forced to start borrowing equipment this weekend after the second of its two fire engines was damaged in a car crash.

Prince George's County Fire and EMS Department spokesman Mark Brady said the volunteer squad is using a county reserve engine and relying on the protection of neighboring stations while its two engines are fixed.

"The challenge is that Greenbelt has lost, for now, their volunteered-owned apparatus and must now deal with reserve equipment for some time," Mr. Brady stated in an email. "For various reasons a station will be without an in service engine. However, only for a very short period of time (long enough to retrieve a reserve engine, equip it and place in service; 1-2 hours), we have some engines in reserve that a station can use until theirs is repaired."

According to a post on the county department's blog, Greenbelt's Engine 835 was parked on the inner loop of the Capital Beltway to help protect rescue personnel responding to a crash at about 2:45 a.m. Saturday. Called "barrier protection," the engine parked near the site of a crash with its emergency lights and road flares to get the attention of drivers and keep them away from the scene.

The crash happened between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Annapolis Road interchanges. A 2005 Lexus driving along the inner loop rear-ended the fire engine. No injuries were reported, but the car caused more than $30,000 in damages.

A short time later, another car driving along the inner loop rear-ended the Lexus and barely missed several firefighters standing by the damaged engine.

The second civilian driver fled the scene but was caught by police. Both civilian drivers were put in custody and charged with multiple traffic violations, Mr. Brady said.

Mr. Brady did not know if alcohol was a factor in either collision.

Last week, the other Greenbelt engine was damaged and two firefighters were injured when a car failed to give the engine the right-of-way.

Mr. Brady said both units must be repaired at the same time.

Greenbelt isn't the only fire department to have trouble with unaware drivers. In mid-August, a Branchville engine parked on the Beltway was hit.

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