Man arrested after crashing into fire engine

July 10, 2011 11:57:31 AM PDT
San Jose police arrested a man on suspicion of driving under the influence after he plowed his car into a fire engine that was leaving the scene of a one-alarm house fire that was controlled earlier this morning, a San Jose fire captain said.

Two firefighters were reversing a small brush control engine, primarily used for battling wildfires, onto Mabury Road from High Glen Drive when a man driving at a high rate of speed crashed a sport coupe into the back of the engine, launching the car about 15 to 20 feet, San Jose fire Capt. Rob Brown said.

The driver, a man in his early 20s who appeared intoxicated, navigated around two cars that were stopped while a fire captain was directing traffic on the closed road around 12:30 a.m., Brown said. The firefighters and the driver did not suffer any injuries, but both vehicles sustained damage, he said.

Twenty-three firefighters and two battalion chiefs were at the scene, where minutes earlier they controlled a fire that started in a wall of an upstairs bedroom in a two-story house, Brown said.

The fire was reported just before midnight, and it caused about $5,000 to $10,000 in damage to the house, he said.

No occupants were in the home when the fire started and no one was injured while battling the blaze. Its cause is under investigation. Brown said the unexpected crash following the fire "shows we can never can let our guard down."

"Certainly we worry about safety during the fire, but you can't forget that something that's more dangerous can happen after it's out," he said.

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