A fire engine on its way to a brush fire collided with pickup and landed in a ditch off Old Highway 395 Thursday morning, the California Highway Patrol said.
One North County Fire Department firefighter was taken to a hospital with minor injuries while two others on the rig were not injured. Cal Fire Capt. Kendal Bortisser said. The 33-year-old pickup driver, from Escondido, was uninjured.
The collision occurred about 7:30 a.m. when the firefighters were heading south on the highway to check on a reported brush fire near Old Castle Road in Valley Center, CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt said. The fire engine’s emergency lights and siren were on.
The driver of a northbound box truck towing a wood-chipping trailer yielded to the fire engine by pulling to the right side of the road. But the driver of a Toyota Tundra pickup behind the box truck was going too fast to avoid hitting the back of the truck’s trailer, Bettencourt said.
The impact sent the pickup into the southbound lane, where it collided with the fire engine. The engine driver lost control of the rig and it swerved off the road, straight down into a ditch.
The collisions occured just south of Camino Del Rey, and north of Gopher Canyon Road, in the Bonsall area. Both directions of the highway were blocked for more than four hours as tow truck operators tried to get the heavy fire engine back on the road.
Other fire crews went to the Valley Center fire, which turned out to be someone burning vegetation illegally. It was extinguished and caused no damage, fire officials said.