FAIRFIELD, CT - On Saturday, August 12, at 4:33pm, The Fairfield Regional Dispatch Center received a call from the Connecticut State Police (CSP) for a motor vehicle accident with injuries, I-95 Northbound at Exit 21, Mill Plain Road. Engine 4, under the command of Lieutenant Jay Swindon, was traveling on the southbound side and stopped, realizing the vehicle was on fire and unsure if it was occupied. Concurrently, Rescue 1, under the command of Firefighter Chris Eidam, arrived on the southbound side and the driver, Firefighter Joe Rainis, positioned the vehicle on a defensive angle to protect the CSP and Fairfield firefighters who were on scene extinguishing the fire and rendering patient care.
Assistant Chief Schuyler Sherwood, the Shift Commander, arrived and assumed command of the incident. While operating at the initial two-vehicle accident, a pickup truck traveling in the left break down lane at a high rate of speed struck a Fairfield fire truck. The fire truck that was struck, Rescue 1, was positioning to protect the first responders operating at the scene. Due to its defensive blocking position, Rescue 1 was able to keep that vehicle from striking any of the emergency personnel who were operating at the initial accident scene.
Personnel attempted to check the driver of the vehicle that struck Rescue 1 when it reversed into traffic, but CT State Police were able to stop the vehicle and prevent the driver from leaving. CSP are investigating the cause of this crash.
Rescue 1 sustained significant damage to its left side and the vehicle will be removed from service until Fire Department Maintenance Division can repair the damage. (see attached photos)
Assistant Chief Sherwood said, “This is a very important reminder of the dangers that first responders face every day while operating on the highways."
Fire Chief Denis McCarthy, Fire Department Safety Officer Patrick Barry and Mechanic Gilles responded to the scene.
The Fairfield Fire Department would like take this moment to remind everyone of the Connecticut “Move Over Law” established in 2009 but highlighted after the tragic death of local tow operator Corey Iodice, who died in April 2020 after being struck by a vehicle on the Merritt Parkway. Corey was operating his tow vehicle on the side of the roadway assisting a disabled motorist. This law requires operators approaching “emergency vehicles” with operating flashing lights to immediately reduce their speed below posted speed limits and move to one lane over unless that would be unreasonable or unsafe. Emergency Vehicles are defined as Fire Department Vehicles, Police Vehicles, two trucks or maintenance vehicles. The Iodice family started “The Flagman” foundation in Corey's honor. Information on the foundation can be found at this link: Flagman Safety Foundation