Oakland fire truck crashes into flats near Lake Merritt

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OAKLAND — Three firefighters were injured in a crash Saturday after their ladder engine slammed into an apartment complex, prompting authorities to evacuate the building and close a section of Grand Avenue near Lake Merritt for much of the afternoon.

At around 12:40 p.m., the fire truck pulled off the road to avoid a car turning left onto Grand Avenue from Perkins Street. The engine crashed into the building’s main entrance at 353 Grand Avenue, the site of a closed ground-floor business that was being renovated.

Shortly after 4:30 p.m., firefighters removed the engine with a tow truck and prepared to reopen the street.

The engine was on its way to respond to a structure fire on Warfield Avenue about a mile away. Three firefighters suffered “moderate injuries” and are being treated at Highland Hospital, Oakland Fire spokesman Michael Hunt said in an interview.

OAKLAND, CA – FEBRUARY 26: An Oakland Fire Truck crashed into a residential building at the corner of Grand Avenue and Perkins Street in Oakland, CA while on its way to respond to a fire structure fire on Saturday February 26, 2002. Three of the five firefighters on board suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Highland Hospital. No other injuries were reported. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

The collision ruptured the building’s main water main and flooded the basement, leading authorities to shut off the resort’s water and electricity.

Residents of the apartment complex were escorted through the side entrance of the building and guided to American Red Cross responders who helped them find housing while the building was closed.

An employee at a nearby Chevron gas station said one of the firefighters injured in the crash was a regular customer who lived nearby. The employee said he saw the firefighter bleeding from the face as he evacuated the fire truck.

The truck remained housed in the building for several hours after the crash, and Grand Avenue between Perkins Street and Staten Avenue was closed. Many passers-by stood and watched, taking photos and videos of the scene.

Firefighters have begun to assess the entrance to the building to ensure the engine can be safely removed, Battalion Chief Christopher Landry said. He added that the fire truck is unlikely to be returned to service after the collision.

Oakland Police are investigating the crash and looking for possible camera footage. The car that had entered the intersection and swerved the engine off the road left the scene shortly after the accident, Landry said, adding that the engine had its sirens on and its lights flashing.

This story will be updated. Staff photographer Ray Chavez contributed reporting.

OAKLAND, CA – FEBRUARY 26: An Oakland Fire Truck crashed into a residential building at the corner of Grand Avenue and Perkins Street in Oakland, CA while on its way to respond to a fire structure fire on Saturday February 26, 2002. Three of the five firefighters on board suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Highland Hospital. No other injuries were reported. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
OAKLAND, CA – FEBRUARY 26: An Oakland Fire Truck crashed into a residential building at the corner of Grand Avenue and Perkins Street in Oakland, CA while on its way to respond to a fire structure fire on Saturday February 26, 2002. Three of the five firefighters on board suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Highland Hospital. No other injuries were reported. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

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