The call rang out on Sunday evening: A three-alarm fire on the 6400 block of Walter Avenue. Shortly afterwards, the Baltimore City Fire Department’s battalion chief was transported to Shock Trauma — but not because he got injured in the fire.
The battalion chief, Ronald Brown Jr., was injured in a three-car accident at the intersection of Loch Raven Boulevard and Cold Spring Lane. Four other people (none of them from the fire department) were also taken to area hospitals with injuries ranging from serious to minor.
While car accidents involving first responders are tragic, they’re also tragically common. First responders are actually much more likely to die while responding to an emergency than while actually on scene–usually because of car accidents, and often because people don’t pull over when they see or hear an emergency vehicle coming. So many emergency responders are killed either on the scene of an accident or while responding to one that there’s a non-profit dedicated specifically to protecting responders on the highway through creating PSAs, advocating for laws, and distributing high-visibility equipment.
Part of the problem — and this is just speculation — may have been that Brown was traveling in the department SUV, not a big, red firetruck. According to a man whose daughter was involved in the accident, she didn’t see Brown’s SUV until the two cars collided.
We hope all involved have a speedy recovery–and remember, Baltimore: slow down and pull over for emergency vehicles.
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