A rookie DC firefighter remains in the intensive care unit at Medstar Washington Hospital Center after a freak accident at the scene of a two-alarm fire in Northeast, D.C.
According to Craig Baker, Assistant Fire Chief for DC Fire and EMS, the accident occurred when multiple crews responded to a two-alarm row house fire in the 800 block of F St. around 11:30 p.m. That's when 28-year-old probationary firefighter Dane Smothers jumped off his fire truck to help in the fire attack, but was suddenly struck by a ladder truck.
Smothers was rushed to Medstar Washington Hospital Center with critical, life-threatening injuries to his upper body. He has undergone surgery, and is still listed in critical condition.
Asst. Chief Baker says Smothers has been on the job at Engine 3, located in the 400 block of New Jersey Ave., NW., for three months. Firefighting runs in his family, which includes his uncle who is assigned to Engine 8 on C St. SE.
The driver of Truck 7, the vehicle that struck smothers, is receiving counseling.
In a release from Muriel Bowser, the DC Mayor says "This incident reminds us all of the bravery and dedication of our first responders. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. Our thoughts and prayers are with Firefighter Smothers, his family, and his fellow Fire & EMS colleagues. We will do all we can to assist them during this very difficult time."
“A lot of people associating firefighting with the only hazard that we have is running into a burning building,” said veteran firefighter Margie Dickey, “Dane was in his probationary period and very focused; not only doing his studies for himself to be the best he can be but I’m sure some of that is so that he can make his uncles proud.”
Dane’s two uncles are career firefighters. One uncle is assigned to Engine 8 on Capitol Hill and was on the scene when his nephew was struck.
“I’d say to him be strong we’re here to help get you through this. Don’t let this get you down,” said Dickey, “if firefighting is what you want to do come back strong and be better when you get back.”
No one else was hurt in the fire.