DC Fire changes response protocol after engine crash injures 8 firefighters

WASHINGTON — Hours after Friday’s crash between two fire engines responding to an apartment fire, D.C.’s fire chief has ordered a change in protocol to lessen the chance of apparatus colliding on the way to a fire scene.

Eight D.C. firefighters were injured Friday as two engines collided at the intersection of 15th and K Streets Southeast, two blocks from an apartment fire in the 1400 block of L Street SE.

Early Saturday, D.C. Fire Chief Gregory Dean ordered the change, which attempts to control the number of emergency vehicles arriving at the same time, with the goal of avoiding collisions.

Under the new protocol, when responding to a box alarm, or one-alarm fire, only two engines — which carry hoses and pump water — as well as one ladder truck, and one battalion chief, will immediately respond to the location of the fire.

Other vehicles will be expected to stage two blocks from the location, and await instructions from the incident commander, on scene.

“Chief Dean has said D.C. Fire can only help at the scene after we arrive safely at the scene,” said Doug Buchanan, chief communications officer with the agency.

This is the third crash involving D.C. first responders in approximately a year, resulting in injuries. In March, 32-year-old DeAngelo Green was killed when a  fire vehicle struck his car.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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