Niagara This Week
A St. Catharines fire truck was involved in a collision Tuesday morning as it was responding to a small grease fire at a fast food restaurant on Lake Street.
Niagara Regional Police media officer Derek Watson said at around 9:20 a.m., the truck was traveling northbound and attempting to pull into the parking lot of Wendy’s at 345 Lake St. when it was involved in a collision with grey Dodge Journey driven by a St. Catharines woman.
He said the driver of the other vehicle was in the right lane, and the fire truck — with lights and siren blaring — was in the left lane trying to cross over to the parking lot. Watson said the driver did not pull over for the fire truck, as is required by law, and as the fire truck tried to make the turn, there wasn’t enough room for it to do so without its front right wheel well colliding with the Journey’s front left corner.
Dave Woods, deputy chief of the St. Catharines fire department, said that despite the pumper being put out of commission due to the crash, the fire was able to put out promptly.
The officer from the truck involved in the collision checked on the driver and reported the details of the scene to the other responding fire trucks, which were just a minute behind.
Firefighters were able to get into the kitchen through the back door and found the pressure cooker on fire. They were able put it out using one of the department’s hand held fire extinguishers.
The driver of the other vehicle was assessed by paramedics and released at the scene.
Wood said the department encounters situations such as this on nearly a daily basis, as many drivers forget the Highway Traffic Act.
“You are to slow down, come to a safe stop and pull over to the right,” he said.
Failure to do this slows down fire trucks, he said, adding some people simply slow down. Fire truck drivers don’t know what the driver is going to do and have slow down themselves.
Others in a four-lane road stay in the left lane, meaning fire trucks have to weave in and out of the right lane.
“We have to really, really proceed with caution,” he said.
Damage estimates to both vehicles is about $5,000.
The driver of the Dodge Journey was charged with careless driving.