DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver Fire Department is working with the Denver Police Department in the investigation of a traffic fatality involving a DFD rescue truck.
The incident occurred when Rescue One was dispatched to a call of smoke coming from a building on Kalamath and 14th, according to DFD. The department spokesperson, Greg Pixley said the truck slowed with lights and sirens on going through the intersection of Broadway and Speer.
Rescue One collided with a passenger car critically injuring two people and fatally injuring another.
The victim killed in the crash was identified Wednesday morning as 38-year-old Monica Charles.
The firefighters in the truck immediately jumped out to extricate the victims that were trapped, DFD Chief Desmond Fulton said.
“Just like on any emergency response, we have opticoms at some intersections. And DPD is looking into the working ability of the opticoms of this particular incident,” Fulton said. “Nonetheless we do have steps that we take, precautions. We clear intersections but then again things like this tragically happen.”
Pixsley tells FOX31 because the department takes so many precautions when responding to emergencies, severe accidents like this rarely happen.
There has been only one other fatal crash involving a DFD vehicle in the last 10 years. According to the incident report in 2012, an 80-year-old driver attempted to make a right turn onto Hampden from Yosemite when a DFD unit went through a green light at the intersection with lights and sirens on. The truck struck the sedan and the driver did not survive.
DFD has dispatched an average of 151,000 vehicles per year in the last five years. Only in 2016 were there more than 100 reports of damage of anything as minor as a dent to as major as a total loss. There was only one other report over 100 from 2005 – 2015.
“This takes a tremendous impact on us psychologically and emotionally,” Fulton said. “I feel blessed that we have a peer support team in place. That we have a resiliency program that we just implemented. We’re family and the only way we get through difficult times such as this is together.”
DFD said Mayor Michael Hancock was notified immediately after the crash. The department will continue to work with DPD Traffic Investigations Unit and the Denver DA to assess what happened and how to avoid another tragic incident.