Firetruck crashes into Mission Hill apartment building

the scene

Jared Molton posted photos from the scene.

UPDATE: One firefighter dead.

Channel 7 reports multiple injuries in the accident at 835 Huntington Ave..



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Insane Is the Half of That

The only consistent way to get there in less than an hour was to ride a bike. I stayed clear of all but two blocks of Huntington, from Fenwood road to the bunker-like fortress where I worked.

Parker Hill Ave is insanely steep, but Huntington is a death trap with poor sight lines, trolleys, trolley tracks, poor snow removal, parked cars, double parked trucks, jam packed traffic, speeding and weaving ... nuts.

i was just there.

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there is no ice on the street. sidewalks are another story.

Thanks for the report. It

Thanks for the report. It will take time before we know what happened. Ice or a brake failure don't make a lot of sense to me. There has been a hospital on top of that hill for a hundred years, and the city has taken appropriate care of that road. Truck brakes don't generally suffer catastrophic failures. If they did, we'd all be dead now.

truck brakes are designed to be intrinsically safe

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Brake failure is unlikely. The system is designed to be very failure-tolerant, similar in operation to that used in trains, and hasn't changed much in almost a century. Systems can even be completely redundant.

Also, if you've been near almost any Boston fire truck (and big rigs on the highway slowing for an exit ramp or going down a hill), when it slows you hear a very loud "BOMBOMBOMBOM" from the engine; it's an exhaust brake, which can either take the form of a simple valve that restricts exhaust, or a "jake brake" (the loud one), which alters valve timing and causes a diesel engine to turn into a powerful brake.


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Ouch. Hopefully everyone is OK

Oh Dear

Is it a sign that you've become way too cynical when the first thought in your head is, "Gee, I wonder what illegal substance these guys will test positive for?" Not, "Oh no, someone died!"

Ice or brakes

Much more likely cause was either ice on that steep hill, or brake failure, or some combination of the two.

This is no sign you're a

This is no sign you're a cynic; the fact that this is your first response proves you're nothing but a heartless jerk (I know the word I want to post here would be deleted).

One man just lost his life and many other people have been injured and that's all you can come up with? Are you trying to be inflammatory to get a rise out of others or are you just plain nasty? Grow up.

God Rest Your Soul, Brother

Today's newspaper reports

Today's newspaper reports that the Firefighter's union if fighting against drug testing of its members. If you don't have the good sense to care about your own lives, why should anyone else care

Everyone assumes drug

Everyone assumes drug testing is being fought; that isn't the case; fairness is the issue at hand, and if people took the time to get the real story instead of believing all the "truth" in the media we'd be getting somewhere. Nobody ever said it wouldn't be accepted; that is a false assumption.

Irrelevent right now. Someone has died, and deserves the same respect as you'd want for your family or yourself.


Grow up is right

I agree with RightSedRed - posting a comment like that is just being a jerk, not a cool cynic.

Absolutely correct...

The investigations will follow. Right now, let this firefighter go with dignity and give his family and his fellow firefighters the time to prepare their final goodbyes without rubberneckers and inappropriate comments.

If you can't comment without taking a swipe at the firefighters, don't comment at all.

Lots of cynics in these parts

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Perhaps if there weren't numerous reports on firefighters being impaired on the job that thought wouldn't be one of the more likely causes of the crash. Unfortunately, we've seen all too many of those cases lately and on top of the union's effort to prevent random drug testing, it makes a lot of people cynics in the Boston area.

Yes, it's a tragedy and my sympathies go out to the family. Doesn't negate the fact that impairment of firefighters while on the job is an issue because the firefighters themselves make it an issue. I myself don't think that drug or alcohol is the likely reason this truck crashed, but it's shouldn't ruled out and it should be discussed.


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If it is determined that the person driving the truck that crashed was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, then, OK, it should be discussed.

Meanwhile, please just stop. You're carrying on about drug testing when a man was just killed while on duty and you have absolutely no reason to think drugs or alcohol were involved.

People have hypothesized

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People have hypothesized that faulty brakes were the cause and rightfully so. Why is it out of line to also hypothesize that drug or alcohol MIGHT be a reason as well, especially since drugs and alcohol was an issue with the last two firefighter deaths?

actually, that's not true

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re:"the last two firefighter deaths"...
Most recent line-of-duty death : Lieutenant Vincent P. Russell of IAFF Local 718 - Boston, Massachusetts. Russell died on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 from injuries sustained at a fire on Thursday, January 3, 2008.

i have to believe there's a direct correlation between your inability to get simple facts right and your thoughtless assumptions .

More Sensitivity, Please

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A person was just killed, and another person was gravely injured.

Besides that -- which should be enough for a little sensitivity -- these are firefighters, and this happened because they were on a fire truck. The recent scandals involving a few firefighters notwithstanding, I think most Bostonians have a lot of respect for firefighters, so it's doubly insensitive.

Idiotic helicopters

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Great. That's just what the world needs: a live feed from a motor vehicle accident--after all the action is over.

Those 'copters have been up there making a godawful racket for an hour and a half now. All so we can view a static scene of a firetruck poking out of the side of a brick building.

There's nothing to see; go back home and save some fuel and give the neighborhood a rest from your noise.

66 Bus?

Anybody know how to find out how this is affecting the #66 bus? I've gotten several T alerts about the green line and the 39 bus, but absolutely nothing about delays and diversions on the 66.

Answering my own question: I called T customer service and to my surprise got a VERY helpful gentleman who told me that service on the 66 was being diverted at Saint Alphonsus street to to Longwood. (Although he had no idea about the cause, so for my part I filled him in on that end of the story.) I hope they get around to posting details on soon.

it may be un-diverted again now

As of 6:00 in Coolidge Corner, the 66 bus was running, but apparently only toward Dudley Square. Unfortunately I wanted to go the other way. After the 7th Dudley-bound bus, I gave up and got in a cab.

7 Buses

Yep - I got a bus in front of the Mission Church after waiting for close to half an hour. The driver did NOT go down St. Alphonsus, but up Tremont to Huntington, then right on Huntington, then left on Longwood. The other would have been a much better route - the left turn onto Longwood took over 10 minutes to execute from the point where we were first in line for the turn. Police officer directing traffic did nothing to help, of course.

My bus passed those seven buses headed towards Dudley as we were approaching Brookline Village - it was quite a sight!

Fire truck crashed into computer lab

from the report:

When the truck struck the building, it crashed into a computer lab where seven children, ages 7 to 12, were working on an after-school project, according to resident David Ramos, 46.

"Some of the kids were full of glass," said Ramos, who ran to the lab when he felt the crash reverberate through the building. "They were sitting next to the window where the impact was."

Ramos grabbed paper towels and said he helped clean up some of the children, who were bleeding with cuts from the flying debris. All of the children's injuries appeared to be minor, Ramos said.

Three children were taken to Children's Hospital with minor injuries and are expected to be released today, according to Andrea Duggan, a hospital spokeswoman.

First Floor is Mostly Lobby and Community Center

I was relieved that IF it had to crash, it went in to that building, which is both large and doesn't have a lot on the first floor ... one of the apartment townhouse buildings and it might have been worse (a lot of people who live there are elderly or on disability and are home much of the time).

I'm glad the kids are OK and didn't have to go far for care. Sad news about the firefighters - I'm with Ron on the ice/brakes. (ice/cold damaging or inhibiting the brakes??? possible. Could have fractured a brake component, too)

I'm amazed it didn't hit anybody coming across Huntington Ave!!! Busses, trolleys, trucks, traffic, pedestrians. Yikes.

All the streets in that area are steep

Most are very narrow, too, and have tight turns onto other streets. Parker Hill is the only one wide enough for a two-way road and parking, because it heads all the way over the hill, but even it takes a dog-leg up by New England Baptist.

The building I was in? It was a blood bank at one point and the rear section was actually underground. We would take an elevator to the roof to get to the parking area in back.

10% grade?

Parker Hill Avenue, when you look at it from the bottom of Huntington Avenue, looks to be at least a 10% grade straight up.

Let's do the math

The nearby building that I used to work in was two stories high and became underground over about a 150' run.

25/150 = 16-17% grade

Holy Christmas! 16%?!

I guess my 10% estimate was way off, but holy Christmas, I never knew it was THAT steep! Thanks for letting me know...

Not sure that Parker Hill is that steep

Just pointing out that it has to be close to that steep since my building was built into the same face of the same hill in the same area. I think Frawley is close to that steep.

Hmmmmm.....I don't know.

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I've walked up and down Parker Hill Ave, and it is pretty steep.

Looks like something went horribly wrong

If there are skid marks that far up the hill, something went very very wrong well ahead of the impact.

Jethro Tull's Locomotive Breath comes to mind.

Thank heavens they appear to have had the light when they hit the bottom of the hill ... or that their way was clear. It is bad enough to hit the computer room and cause injuries to the people there, but a full bus or green line car would have been extreme.

More photos

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Margalit and kids were picking up their cat from Angell Memorial (spaying) today, when they ran into the Huntington Avenue blockage. She posts photos.

He won't post his photos

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Steven Walsh, who takes photos of firefighters in action, explains why he isn't posting the photos he took today:

I have just come back from one of the worst scenes I have witnessed in 24 years of photographing emergency incidents. ... I will not publish any photos of the accident itself out of respect for the Firefighters and their families. The news teams already have the TV flooded with images that should remind us that the men and women who serve as Firefighters are never on a routine call. Life is precious so embrace it. ...


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Globe top story this morning:

Perhaps apropos of criticism of the Globe coverage of the fire last week, they were not messing around:

By Maria Cramer, Michael Levenson, Eric Moskowitz, Donovan Slack, Milton Valencia, and Megan Woolhouse of the Globe staff and Globe correspondents John Guilfoil, Jenna Nierstedt, and Stewart Bishop.

Plus at least 3 photogs:

Oh, god...what a horrible story!

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:I'm sorry for the people who were injured in that horrible crash, and especially sorry for the fireman who ended up losing his life because of it. If, as another poster on here claims, that there wasn't any ice on the street at that time, then, one of two things is likely, imho:

A) Either some kind of brake failure.

B) If it was the fireman driving the truck who lost his life, then maybe he had a heart attack or a stroke, or possibly a seizure, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

Just saying.