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Bluffton firetruck collision under investigation; extent of damage unknown

In this file photo, Moss Creek maintenance worker Carl Woods  dismantles what's left of the plantation's entry marker. The marker, which featured a cascading waterfall, was  destroyed when a Bluffton Fire District fire  truck responding to a call in the plantation collided with another  vehicle and then crashed into the marker.
In this file photo, Moss Creek maintenance worker Carl Woods dismantles what's left of the plantation's entry marker. The marker, which featured a cascading waterfall, was destroyed when a Bluffton Fire District fire truck responding to a call in the plantation collided with another vehicle and then crashed into the marker. Jay Karr, the Island Packet

The Bluffton Township Fire District truck involved in a traffic accident last week was a back-up that was being used while a main engine was being repaired.

Now, the back-up truck is in the shop after it was struck by a 2008 Kia as it crossed U.S. 278 during a March 28 medical call to Moss Creek.

Fortunately, the main engine has returned to service, according to Capt. Randy Hunter. The damaged vehicle "was only a secondary apparatus, so everything worked out for the best, I guess," he said.

It is not clear how much it will cost to repair the damaged back-up, one of three the district keeps in reserve. The truck is still being assessed for damages by the district's maintenance team, Hunter said.

It was struck on the right side, near a water intake, which might have damaged the water line, Hunter said.

The accident is under investigation by S.C. Highway Patrol, which stated last week that the car failed to yield the right of way as the firetruck was crossing the U.S. 278 intersection from Buckingham Plantation Drive.

The driver was taken to a local hospital with unknown injuries. It's not clear if the driver has been cited. Attempts Monday to reach troopers for comment were unsuccessful.

The three firefighters in the engine were not injured, Hunter said. The firetruck struck and damaged the Moss Creek Plantation entrance sign and had to be towed away.

The wreck was "not something that is ever supposed to happen," Hunter said.

Hunter said drivers can sometimes be frightened when they hear the wail of vehicles responding to an emergency situation.

"When you see an emergency vehicle, whether it's a police car, an ambulance or a fire truck, first off, don't panic," Hunter said. "You want to pull over, but do it safely. Use your turn signal so (responders) can see that you see them and are pulling over as they are trying to get through."

Related content

  1. Beaufort chief: Fate of firetruck involved in fatal incident uncertain, March 31, 2012
  2. PHOTO: Moss Creek neighborhood sign destroyed in fire engine crash, March 29, 2012
  3. Highway Patrol reminds drivers to move over for emergency crews -- with good reason, Nov. 10, 2010
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