Investigation into cause of fire engine crash on country lane

AN investigation is under way after five firefighters were hurt when their vehicle overturned on a narrow country lane while answering a 999 call.

The fire engine was travelling down Weet Shaw Lane in Cudworth, near Barnsley, on Sunday night when the accident happened.

It is believed the driver was not travelling at high speed, but somehow lost control of the engine along the narrow road.

As the 180,000 vehicle careered off the road with its lights flashing and sirens on, it slid down an embankment and flipped on to its side.

Five firefighters were travelling inside the cab, but only two of them in the front seat were wearing seat belts.

The crew from Blue Watch at Royston were thrown around the inside of the cab and all sustained minor injuries.

However two of the crew were more seriously injured, with one man sustaining a broken arm and another suffering back injuries.

Senior Divisional Officer Brian Robjohns, Operations Commander for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said all five had been taken to hospital.

The officer who suffered the most serious injuries, firefighter Peter Kaye, had to be cut free from the cab of the fire engine.

After the accident Mr Kaye had been placed on a back-board and could not be extracted from the wreckage without cutting the roof of the cab off.

He was detained in hospital overnight and was undergoing further tests yesterday to determine the extent of his injuries.

Mr Robjohns said an investigation had been launched.

"The crew was answering a 999 call in Grimethorpe, which turned out to be a false alarm with good intent, when the engine came off the road and overturned.

"Fortunately the crew cab on the appliances are built to a very specification and it was virtually undamaged."

Mr Robjohns said all engines were fitted with seat belts, but it appeared only the driver and the front seat passenger had theirs on.

"We provide seat belts but that's all we can do. It's accepted that crews are in a hurry and do not always have time to put them on. But it may be that we need to stress that seats should be worn.

"All the drivers undergo thorough training and we believe in this instance the driver was travelling at speeds commensurate with the road conditions."