Fire Department Investigates Beltway Crash

Firefighter recuperating from arm reattachment surgery

By Jackie Bensen
|  Thursday, Jan 31, 2013  |  Updated 9:31 PM EDT
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The Prince George's County Fire Department is investigating Wednesday's collision on the Beltway in which a firefighter s arm was amputated. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

Jackie Bensen

The Prince George's County Fire Department is investigating Wednesday's collision on the Beltway in which a firefighter s arm was amputated. News4's Jackie Bensen reports.

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The Prince George’s County Fire Department is investigating Wednesday’s collision on the Beltway after which a firefighter needed his arm reattached.

Investigators are looking into whether the fire engine involved was following the department’s general orders regarding U-turns.

Under Maryland law, the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department engine was allowed to use the “emergency vehicles only” cut-through lane to turnaround on the Beltway Wednesday morning.

As it did so, a tractor-trailer struck the back of the engine. The collision, which also involved a Jeep, injured seven and snarled traffic for much of the day.

The fire department’s general orders on when to use those cut-throughs are stricter than state law.

Meanwhile, the most seriously injured of the four firefighters, Lt. Ryan Emmons, is recuperating after surgery to reattach his right arm,  which was severed at the elbow. Fellow firefighters are credited with immediately icing the severed limb in time to get him to Dr. James Higgins at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.

“When he arrived at our doors he was very well-prepared for surgery,” Higgins said. “They had the patient stabilized in the outside hospital, and his part was well-prepared. It was placed on ice in a plastic bag following all the protocols we have in position for this type of injury, and he was brought into the operating room nearly immediately after he hit our doors. The system worked very well.”

Higgins is a member of the surgical team that performed a rare double arm transplant on a former soldier last month.

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