DC firefighter critically injured after being struck by ladder truck

Dane Smothers was injured at the scene of a house fire Wednesday night. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Dane Smothers, 28, was injured at the scene of a house fire Wednesday night. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS) (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
A fire truck prepares to leave DC engine co 3 after one of the station's firefighters was critically injured late Wednesday night. Probationary firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. was struck by a ladder truck while responding to a house fire on F Street. (WTOP/John Aaron)
A fire truck prepares to leave DC Engine Co. 3 after one of the station’s firefighters was critically injured late Wednesday night. Probationary firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. was struck by a ladder truck while responding to a house fire on F Street NE. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
Outside Medstar Washington Hospital , where firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. is being treated. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Outside Medstar Washington Hospital , where firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. is being treated. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
Outside Medstar Washington Hospital , where firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. is being treated. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Outside Medstar Washington Hospital , where firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. is being treated. (WTOP/John Aaron) (WTOP/John Aaron)
Firefighters battle the blaze at F St. NE where one of their own was injured. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Firefighters battle the blaze at F St. NE where one of their own was injured. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS) (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Dane Smothers Jr. was his by a ladder truck at the scene. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Dane Smothers Jr. was his by a ladder truck at the scene. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS) (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Dane Smothers Jr. was his by a ladder truck at the scene. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Dane Smothers Jr. was his by a ladder truck at the scene. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS) (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Smothers sustained “very serious” injuries. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS) (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Firefighter and technician Margie Dickey shows the hose that Smothers was pulling when he was struck by a ladder. (WTOP/John Aaron)
As of Thursday morning, Smothers was out of surgery but had suffered “multiple injuries above the waist,” Baker said. (WTOP/John Aaron)  
Smothers’ uncle, who is also a D.C. firefighter, was on the scene responding to the fire as well. (WTOP/John Aaron)  
While the incident is under investigation, officials don’t believe any protocols were broken. (WTOP/John Aaron)  
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Dane Smothers was injured at the scene of a house fire Wednesday night. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
A fire truck prepares to leave DC engine co 3 after one of the station's firefighters was critically injured late Wednesday night. Probationary firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. was struck by a ladder truck while responding to a house fire on F Street. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Outside Medstar Washington Hospital , where firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. is being treated. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Outside Medstar Washington Hospital , where firefighter Dane Smothers Jr. is being treated. (WTOP/John Aaron)
Firefighters battle the blaze at F St. NE where one of their own was injured. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Dane Smothers Jr. was his by a ladder truck at the scene. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)
Dane Smothers Jr. was his by a ladder truck at the scene. (Courtesy D.C. Fire and EMS)

WASHINGTON — A D.C. firefighter was in critical condition Thursday after being struck by a ladder truck while responding to a fire in Northeast.

City Administrator Rashad Young said D.C. Fire and EMS were responding to a house fire in the 800 block of F Street Northeast around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when the incident occurred.

Probationary firefighter Dane Smothers Jr., 28, who’s been out of the academy for three months, was preparing to battle the blaze when he was accidentally hit, Young said.

“He’s pretty quiet [and] focused,” said Margie Dickey, a firefighter technician who worked at the same firehouse.

Smothers sustained “very serious injuries,” according to Young, and remains in critical condition. He’s being treated at Medstar Washington Hospital.

“We join his family and fellow firefighters in awaiting more information about his prognosis,” Young said.

Assistant Chief Craig Baker said Smothers was getting hose lines and other equipment ready when he was struck.

As of Thursday morning, Smothers was out of surgery but had suffered “multiple injuries above the waist,” Baker said.

Smothers’ uncle, who is also a D.C. firefighter, was on the scene responding to the fire as well.

While the incident is under investigation, officials don’t believe any protocols were broken.

D.C. Fire and EMS had a “busy night,” Young added.

They fought a number of fires throughout the District Wednesday night into Thursday.

In a statement, Mayor Muriel Bowser says it’s a reminder “of the bravery and dedication of our first responders.”

At the station, the accident has made some of Smothers’ co-workers reflect on the dangers of the job.

“Although you like to think you’re trained for everything, there’s always going to be a situation you’re not 100 percent ready to take on,” Dickey said.

Dickey added that while one young member is having a particularly hard time in the wake of this accident, most are holding up well.

“When you let something like this affect you, that’s when other accidents start to happen,” she said. “So you need to be able to learn to put that to the side.”

WTOP’s John Aaron and Michelle Basch contributed to this report.


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