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The Secret List

The Secret List is an independent newsletter produced since 1998 by Chief Billy Goldfeder in an effort to bring forward the issues involving injury and death to us...often issues that are ignored, quickly forgotten or just not talked about.

TSL is e-mailed at no charge and produced as time allows. With the attitude that in order for us to survive the dangers of the job, they must learn how we have had "Close Calls" and even been injured or killed, TSL brings forward issues in an effort to enforce that philosophy-and get us to refocus on "what's important."

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Fatal Firefighter Response Crash (The Secret List)

Saturday, April 19, 2014  All,

Thursday morning in Comstock Township, Michigan, near Kalamazoo, a woman was killed in a crash - when her vehicle was involved in that crash with a truck driven by a Firefighter responding to a fire call. The Firefighter was in his own personal vehicle. Read the circumstances below.

The woman drove into the path of that Firefighter who was responding to another crash that occurred minutes earlier. The woman has been identified as Audrey Jean Kurka.

Kurka, 51, of Comstock Township, was waiting in traffic in the passing lane of northbound Sprinkle Road when she attempted a U-turn and pulled her 2010 Nissan Cube into the middle turn lane at around 0830 hours. Her car was struck on the driver’s side by a northbound 2005 GMC Sierra pickup truck -driven by Comstock volunteer Firefighter Shaun Hughes, 32.    

Hughes, who had the emergency lights and siren on his truck activated, was responding to a report of a head-on crash when Kurka turned in front of him.

Hughes was initially traveling in the passing lane of northbound Sprinkle but then moved over to the middle turn lane because of the traffic backup. The point of impact between Hughes’ truck and Kurka’s car was near the “westernmost stripe” of the middle turn lane.

“Hughes didn’t have time for evasive action,” the local undersheriff said.

Hughes, who was not seriously injured in the crash, was taken from the scene to the hospital in a private vehicle--Kurka was pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators did not yet know how fast Hughes was going. That determination will be made as part of the continuing investigation and crash reconstruction. 

Another grim reminder of the high risks of emergency response-to us and those on the road, regardless of the circumstances. More to follow.

Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.


The Secret List 4-19-14/0715 hours





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