Firefighter Nearly Loses Arm In Beltway Crash Involving Fire Truck In Md.

6:06 PM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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LANDOVER, Md. (WUSA) -- Surgeons were able to reattach the arm of a firefighter who was severely injured during a crash early Wednesday morning.

The arm 29-year-old volunteer firefighter Ryan Emmons was amputated during the accident that took place just before 3 a.m. on the Inner Loop of I-495 just south of Route 50 in Landover.

A team of doctors were able to reattach his arm and Emmons is now recovering at the Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.
Emergency crews are still trying to clear up the debris of that accident that happened on the Inner Loop of 495, south of Route 50 just before 3 a.m. on Wednesday.

Police say a driver of a tractor trailer hit a fire truck from behind, sending four volunteer firefighters and three others to the hospital. The Prince George's County Police department held an afternoon press conference saying it appears the tractor trailer driver may have had the right of way but they are still investigating the accident.

No matter who's at fault, the mood at West Lanham Hills Fire House 28 has been somber. Lt. Ryan Emmons, an eight-year veteran, was returning from responding to an accident himself when he nearly lost his life.

The impact sent Fire Engine 281 sliding down the concrete barrier and the tractor trailer landing on the outer loop of 495.

"The fire truck slid down a couple hundred feet. It flipped the fire truck over the jersey wall. The tractor trailer went over the jersey wall onto oncoming traffic," West Lanham Hills Fire Chief John Alter said.

A driver of a jeep was also caught in the mess and crashed as the impact sent wreckage and concrete debris, onto the beltway.

"The preliminary investigation suggests, as the fire engine was attempting to make a U-turn we believe the driver of the tractor trailer was the favored driver," Prince George's County Police Lt. William Alexander said.

Police say the tractor trailer driver may have had the right of way. Prince George's County Lt. Alexander says they're still investigating which lane the vehicles were in. A total of seven people were taken to the hospital but Emmons suffered the most severe injuries.

According to Alter, the team of doctors who performed the surgery this week on a double amputee on a war veteran is the same team responsible for re-attaching Ryan Emmons arm.

Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore is the premier site for these types of surgeries. The other six victims have non-life threatening injuries.

"It's never good when you get that call and I don't see a fire call on my pager," Alter said. "He loves being here. He's outgoing. You couldn't ask for a more upstanding guy day in day out."

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