A big rig slammed into a firetruck bringing traffic on Interstate 95 to a screeching halt for hours early Thursday and leaving five Philadelphia firefighters hurt.
The tractor-trailer crossed lanes and slammed into the stopped firetruck in the southbound left-hand shoulder around 3 a.m. under the Chestnut Street overpass/Penn's Landing Tunnel in Old City.
"It was chaotic out here," said NBC10 photo journalist Pete Kane who witnessed the wreck in his rear-view mirror.
The wreck left five Philadelphia firefighters from Ladder 16 and the big rig driver with minor injuries. Doctors at Hahnemann Hospital treated the firefighters while the truck driver went to Jefferson Hospital – all in stable condition.
The firefighters were responding to a minor crash when the big rig came across the lanes and slammed into the fire truck, said Kane. Despite the crash, firefighters could be seen running to help out other motorists.
"Normally when I come up to an accident the firemen are the ones going to help people, it was just so eerie that they were the ones needing help, but they went back to the cab to make sure the tractor-trailer driver was OK, make sure the people in the car were OK even though (the firefighters) were injured themselves, it was something different to see." Said Kane. "When it happened it was like something out of a movie, when you look in your mirror and you see a tractor-trailer going across the roadway, not knowing what’s going to happen next, it was very chaotic out here at the time. These firemen, they were hurt, but they also did their job."
The wreck caused a major backup as motorists stuck behind the crash and bailed out onto Center City Streets.
Around 6 a.m., crews allowed the left lane to snake by to clear out the backed up cars. They then cleared the crashed vehicles and got the roadway reopened shortly after 7 a.m.