A bad couple of days for Firefighters on the roadways-here are some updates:
In Minnesota yesterday, 25-year-old Beartown Michigan Firefighter Alan Swartz and 23-year-old Firefighter James Shelifoe, both of of Baraga, Michigan, were killed when the fire transport truck they were in went off I-35W around 1500 yesterday. The vehicle hit a cable barrier, bounced off and rolled several times.
A total of 9 Firefighters were in the truck. Swartz and Shelifoe died, and several others were injured, some severely. They were responding to help fight the Box Canyon fire, which so far has burned around 4,000 acres in Utah. RIP.
In Louisiana this morning, Firefighters, State Police troopers and citizens climbed over a guardrail, down 30 feet into alligator infested canal waters to rescue 3 St. John the Baptist Parish firefighters thrown from an Interstate 10 bridge after they were hit by a party bus-driven by an illegal immigrant this morning. Charges pending against bus driver who slammed into 3 Firefighters, throwing them over the bridge and into the water below.
One of the firefighters, St. John Fire District Chief Spencer Chauvin, 36, was killed in the Line of Duty. Firefighters William “Mack” Beal and Nick Saale were were also taken to a local hospital. FF Saale was still hospitalized in stable condition this evening and FF Beal was released after treatment for minor injuries.
Denis Yasmir Amaya Rodriguez, 37, of Honduras, the bus driver accused of plowing into the Firefighters, has no driver’s license and entered the country illegally and criminal charges are pending.
The LODD was the result of a 2nd crash. The first occurred about 0640 hours when a pick-up truck headed westbound on I-10 and traveling too fast for the slick roadway hit the left guardrail. The truck bounced across to the other guardrail and came to a stop in the right lane and shoulder of the bridge. State Police troopers and St. John fire crews responded to the scene to assist and shut down the interstate, blocking the highway with a ladder truck.
Around 0717 hours, Rodriguez was headed westbound in the left lane of I-10 when for an unknown reason, Rodriguez’s bus was also out of control and hit the fire truck blocking I-10. The bus then crossed into the right lane of the highway and hit the Firefighters, including Chief Chauvin, who were standing between a State Police patrol car and the truck involved in the first crash. All three firemen were thrown over the side of the guardrail, into the water below.
The bus also hit another unidentified vehicle. The second person killed in the crash was a passenger in that vehicle.
About 30 to 42 passengers on the party bus suffered minor injuries. They were taken to local hospitals for treatment.
Chief Chauvin was married with two small children had been a career Firefighter with the parish since 2004. RIP.