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LODD X 2 – Germany

Two-Vehicle Crash While Responding

TWO VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS in Erklenz, Germany, were killed today (Thursday) when one of them, a 19-yr.-old member was responding to the firehouse on an alarm and ran head-on into the fire engine that was responding from the station to the fire.  The wreck was on a curve and the young man in the private vehicle drifted over the center line directly into the path of the pumper.

There was little left of the private auto.  (RP Online)

The car was demolished by the impact and the pumper overturned.  Both drivers were killed immediately and two other firefighters in the engine were seriously injured.  One of them age 39 was flown by helicopter to Aachen in critical condition.  The other, age 30, was transported to Erklenz in serious condition.

RP Online

Wiebold TV News has additional photos HERE.

Thanks to Christian Lewalter / Feuerwehr Weblog.

Comments - Add Yours

  • mr618

    OMG. Sympathies to those involved, but how frickin’ fast was the kid driving, to do that kind of damage?

    • Guest

      According to the linked article on Wiebold TV, the crash happened on a country road outside town. The general speed limit for cars on German country roads is 100km/h (roughly 62mph) unless specified otherwise (almost always lower) by road signs. The speed limit for large trucks on such roads is 60km/h (roughly 38mph), but that doesn’t necessarily apply to fire trucks under emergency conditions, because in that case, drivers are allowed to break the traffic code as long as they aren’t unreasonably endangering anyone. The top speed of heavy trucks is usually limited to 90km/h (roughly 56mph) by construction.

      Given these figures, we can assume that both vehicles were traveling at sufficient speed to cause that much damage, even if they were playing it safe.

      Additionally, breaking the traffic code as a volunteer FF while responding to a call in a privately owned vehicle is some kind of a legal grey area, because only the right of way for emergency vehicles is bound to emergency lights and sirens, the right to break the traffic code in case of an emergency only depends on whether or not you’re a member of an organization entitled to that right. So the legality of breaking the traffic code in your personal car mostly depends on what the court deems reasonable, and there have been verdicts in either direction.

      For those capable of reading German legalese, the relevant sections of German traffic code can be found here: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stvo/__35.html (Right to break the traffic code for members of certain organizations) and here: http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/stvo/__38.html (Right of way for vehicles with activated emergency lights and siren)

      Unfortunately, some (not necessarily only younger) volunteer FFs get carried away with the legal situation and exceed speed limits far beyond reasonable.

      • firegeezer

        Thanks for the valuable background, Mac.  You are always informative and helpful.  Welcome back.