Matthew Renda

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September 24, 2013
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New fire truck destroyed, saves life

A firefighter was lucky to escape with his life after the truck he was driving slid on a rain-slicked surface and tumbled 75 feet down an embankment, fire district officials said.

The brand new rescue truck, which was only three months old at the time, was credited as saving the life of the driver.

“He was later transported to the hospital and was found to be in relatively good condition,” said Christoffer Montelius, public information officer with the North San Juan Fire Protection District. The driver’s name was not released.

On Saturday afternoon, during a rainstorm, the North San Juan Fire Department received a report that an individual was injured in an ATV accident.

Information indicated the victim was located somewhere between North Bloomfield Road and Relief Hill Road, Montelius said.

Together with Cal Fire, North San Juan Fire dispatched an ambulance to the area, which turned out to be the incorrect location.

The ambulance became stuck in the mud, so the fire district sent its brand new rescue truck to help extract the vehicle.

The driver was driving at a slow rate of speed, Montelius said, when he attempted to take a bend in the road.

The rescue truck did not comply, sliding on the rain-soaked surface and rolling 75 feet down a steep embankment, Montelius said.

The truck came to rest upside down in a creek and the driver managed to extricate himself.

The truck appears totaled but the fire district is “very grateful that our firefighter escaped with minor injuries,” Montelius said.

“If not for the many air bags in the new fire truck, we believe the outcome for our firefighter might have been very different.”

In the meantime, Cal Fire located the patient involved in the ATV accident on Snow Tent Road, and another ambulance transported that victim to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Montelius said.

A United States Forest Service truck helped remove North San Juan Fire’s ambulance from the mud.

The brand new fire truck was on lease and has insurance coverage, Montelius said.

Details regarding the financial terms of the lease and whether truck will be covered under insurance were not available as of press time.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or call 530-477-4239.

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The Union Updated Sep 25, 2013 04:27PM Published Sep 26, 2013 04:50PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.