Oakland firetruck slams into building to avoid car; firefighters taken to hospital

Three Oakland firefighters were hospitalized Saturday after their ladder truck crashed on the way to a fire. 

The collision happened around 12:45 p.m. at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Perkins Street, near Lake Merritt.

"They were responding code 3 with lights and sirens to a reported structure fire when the crash occurred," said Battalion Chief Chris Landry.

Surveillance video from a nearby business shows the truck swerved to avoid another car that pulled in front of the emergency vehicle as it was traveling down Grand Avenue.

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David Diller was walking dogs nearby and saw the aftermath. "There were several firefighters around helping extricate one of the crew members who was still in the front of the cab," said Diller. "They definitely looked dazed and a little banged up but beyond that it seemed like they came through it ok."

The firefighters suffered moderate injuries, including some broken bones. They were treated at Highland Hospital and released Saturday night.

The building includes 21 apartment units, but most are unoccupied. Preephi Kembaiyan lives on the second floor. She was inside and felt the whole building shake. She packed her suitcase, unsure when she can return. 

"They said they were turning off the water, so I left for a little bit," said Kembaiyan. "And when I came back they said it’s not safe to go in, we turned off the water, we turned off the gas." 

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A water pipe was hit, which flooded the lower level of the building where a new bookstore was supposed to open this summer. Engineers and building inspectors were at the scene checking the building for structural integrity. Nobody else was hurt.

Battalion Chief Landry said, "We are going to look into everything that occurred with this and ensure that it never happens again and make sure we keep our citizens safe as well as our firefighters."

The driver of the car seen in the surveillance video did not stop. Anyone with additional video or information is asked to contact police.