Fire chiefs to probe truck’s crash with van

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INVESTIGATIONS were continuing today after a van driver suffered a serious head injury in a smash with a South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service appliance returning from a training exercise.

The 55-year-old had to be cut free from his silver Vauxhall Combo after the crash on the A61 Westwood New Road at Tankersley. The brigade’s high volume pump was on its way back to Tankersley station from Rivelin.

One of two firefighters on board immediately went to the man’s aid, but he could not be freed until specialist help arrived, a fire service spokeswoman said.

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance was dispatched too, but the man was eventually driven to the Northern General Hospital where he remained yesterday.

Police said the van had joined the A61 from Wortley Road, and went ‘into the path’ of the fire appliance - a huge specialist pump used to move huge volumes of water from flood zones or to blazes. It can pump 8,000 litres of water a minute and was used during the 2007 floods, when water had to be taken out of Ulley Dam to stop it bursting.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “A red fire truck, similar to a fire engine, was travelling along the A61 when a silver van came out of Wortley Road and into the path of the vehicle.”

The 47-year-old fire officer driving the pump, a man from Sheffield, was not hurt.

A Fire Service spokeswoman said: “We can confirm a frontline ancillary vehicle - not a fire engine - was involved in a collision with a van.

“The vehicle was returning from routine training, not travelling under blue light conditions to an emergency.’’

Witnesses should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 quoting incident 581 of January 12.