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Firetruck Totaled In Accident; Two Firefighters In Hospital

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Two Wake Forest firefighters were in the hospital Thursday, recovering from injuries they received on Christmas Day.

They weren't hurt battling a fire. They were hurt getting to one.

"We heard a big explosion," witness Lori Powers said. "We opened the door and saw that the firetruck had flipped."

Two firefighters suffered broken legs when their truck ran off the road while responding to a call and flipped over. They are expected to remain in the hospital for the next two to three days.

A third firefighter was treated at the scene and released.

"My husband and son-in-law ran across the street to see if they were O.K.," Powers said, "and pull them out of the truck."

All three firefighters were on the truck when the truck rounded a curve, and the driver lost control.

According to fire department officials, the truck met a car as it came around the curve. Truck driver Shawn Thomas moved off onto the right shoulder to make room for the car. The ground was soft on the shoulder, and the engine started sinking, then hit a concrete drain pipe and overturned.

Thomas suffered a broken femur, which was repaired in surgery Wednesday night.

Thomas Howell, who was sitting in front passenger seat, had surgery Wednesday night to repair a broken femur, broken forearm and broken wrist.

Wake Forest Fire chief Jimmy Keith said the truck was traveling at a normal rate of speed. He added that the outcome of the accident could have been much worse.

"Everyone is thankful that we still have everyone with us," Keith said. "The neighbors were out in full force helping with the rescue."

Fire officials said the truck is a total loss. Its estimated cost was $350,000.