Brad A. Greenberg, Staff Writer SBSun.com 8-29-05 A U.S. Forest Service Ranger surveys the damage after a pick-up hauling a speed boat crashed into a U.S. Forest Service firetruck along northbound I-15 near Highway 138 in the Cajon Pass on Sunday. Five firefighters were injured in the collision. (LaFonzo Rachal Carter/Staff Photographer) CAJON PASS – A crash involving a boat-towing pickup truck and a fire engine shut down Interstate 15 Sunday and injured five firefighters responding to a brush fire. The collision occurred at 1:26 p.m. on the northbound side of the freeway at the base of the Cajon Pass. California Highway Patrol closed all north and southbound lanes of the freeway for about an hour, causing bumper-to-bumper traffic from Fontana to the High Desert into the evening. A U.S. Forest Service firefighter, Jason Megowen, was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton. After regaining consciousness, he appeared fine, said Forest Service spokeswoman Ruth Wenstrom. Another Forest Service firefighter, Travis Thogmartin, and three county firefighters Chad Patterson, Don Hulquist and Juan Deleon suffered minor injuries, she said. One of the county firefighters was thrown into oncoming traffic, said county fire Battalion Chief Gary Bush. The driver of the pickup, Jack Creasy, 46, of Apple Valley was not cited. CHP is investigating what caused Creasy to broadside the Forest Service engine. “It could have been nature,’ said CHP Sgt. Fernando Contreras. Creasy told the CHP’s investigating officer, Arlene Brannon, that thick smoke had wafted across the freeway and obscured his vision. “He didn’t see the fire truck,’ Brannon said. “As soon as he saw it, he hit the brakes and tried to avoid the firefighter. It was too late.’ Brannon said it was unclear if Megowen was struck by Creasy’s truck or the engine after it was hit. Creasy declined to comment. The collision rocketed Creasy’s racing boat off its trailer and onto his truck bed. His black Ford pickup appeared totaled. So did his boat, Beauty and the Beast. The collision was the most recent example of the danger firefighters face when they respond to roadside calls. Being hit by oncoming traffic is not unusual. “People are getting hurt all the time,’ said San Bernardino County fire Battalion Chief Barry Fox. “It scares me to death.’ The firefighters had responded to three small brush fires that erupted on the east side of Interstate 15 at 1:09 p.m. The fires, which are under investigation , were quickly extinguished. But the mess on the freeway took far longer to mop up. Sunday is typically nasty on this stretch because weekend warriors are returning from Las Vegas, Laughlin and the Colorado River. But the crash snarled traffic in both directions. The initial closure lined vehicles up for miles. Once the freeway reopened, looky-loos couldn’t get enough of the boat atop the truck. Even Old Cajon Road was jammed heading north. About one mile south of the collision, the Circle K on Highway 138 was teeming with thirsty vehicles and weary travelers, both in need of fuel. “I expected traffic coming from Vegas and all, but can you imagine if next weekend this happened?’ asked Liz Crowley, a Seal Beach real estate agent who stopped for gas after selling a Victorville house and then driving the gantlet. “It was horrible.’ Staff writer Gina Tenorio contributed to this report.