Three teenagers in a Dodge pickup truck nearly rammed into a fire station in East Palo Alto, hitting the rail of the wheelchair access ramp that also protects the structure of the building, on Tuesday afternoon.
No one was injured, according to a press release from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, which provides fire protection and emergency services for East Palo Alto.
Around 3 p.m. on March 2, firefighters at Station 2, located on the corner of University Avenue and Runnymede Street, heard tire screeches and a “loud bang” by the station’s public entrance, the press release said.
When investigating the scene, firefighters found three teens inside the vehicle, including an unlicensed 17-year-old behind the wheel. The driver told firefighters that he had “borrowed” his dad’s truck, according to the press release.
The passenger side of the front of the truck was left with extensive damage.
“These kids are lucky no one was on the sidewalk and that they weren’t injured themselves,” Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said in the press release.
The truck didn’t strike the building, but the fire district said the station sustained “thousands of dollars of damage,” with broken concrete and metal pedestrian handrails.
According to the fire district, Tuesday’s incident is the third time since the station was rebuilt in 2016 that a vehicle nearly hit the building. Shapelhouman credits the careful thinking behind the building’s design for leaving the station unscathed every time.
“We added concrete bollards to protect the corner of the new structure when it was rebuilt and they have twice done their job extremely effectively,” he said. “We also raised the overall height of the Station compared to the height of the street and sidewalk, which appears to have helped as well.”
The fire chief added that the station will be looking into placing “bollard style bases” by the handrail since Tuesday’s crash was the closest time a vehicle has gotten to striking the building.