You might think that running into a burning building is a firefighter's greatest fear. In reality the most dangerous part of the job is getting to the scene, says Edina Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Siems.
It was on Aug. 8 that Engine No. 81 was headed to a fire call when an alleged distracted driver pulled in front of the fire rig and a collision occurred.
"That day the driver stated that the woman said she was distracted by her telephone," Siems said in a video posted by the State Patrol on Wednesday. "She stated that she did not see firetruck, did not hear the siren and did not see the lights."
Nobody died in the crash, but four people were sent to the hospital with injuries.
As for the fire truck, it's now out of service. Siems says the city will be down to two units for up to 2 years until the damaged truck can be replaced.
"That is one-third of our fleet that can't respond to fire calls, can't save lives," Siems said. "You would think that one our biggest fears is running into a building that is on fire. In reality, it's responding to a roadway and being struck by a distracted driver."
Edina fire fighters are trained to take evasive action, and that likely saved the woman's life, Siems said.
First responders can't get to an emergency if they are involved in a crash, the State Patrol said. That has the patrol reminding drivers to keep eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times.
"There is nothing more important during the day than paying attention when behind the wheel of a car," Sgt. Azzahya Williams of the State Patrol. "Our lives depend on it. My life depends on it. Please put the distractions down and pay attention 100 percent of the time so we all go home to our families."