A rookie firefighter is fighting for his life after he was struck by a fire truck while responding to a large rowhouse fire in Northeast Washington.
Dane Smothers Jr. was preparing hose lines and other equipment at the scene of the F Street NE blaze when he was struck about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday by a ladder truck that was arriving at the scene, fire officials said at a news conference.
Smothers, who has been with the department for three months, suffered multiple injuries above the waist. He underwent surgery early Thursday morning and is listed in critical condition.
Fire officials say Smothers' uncle is also a firefighter with the department and was called to the same fire Wednesday night.
"This incident reminds us all of the bravery and dedication of our first responders. We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude," Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement Thursday morning.
“He is currently in Washington Medstar Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit. We ask that you please respect our privacy and keep him in your prayers," Smothers' family said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Smothers had recently finished training academy.
"He was ready to make sure his family was proud of him," said Margie Dickey, who works with Smothers.
"It makes everyone closer when you experience a traumatic event like that," Dickey said.
The fire on F Street damaged the first floor and rear porch of the home before it was extinguished.
The fire was one of three fires D.C. Fire and EMS responded to overnight.
At 12:30 a.m. two police officers came upon a house on fire on the 1700 block of Buchanan Street NE. The officers entered the home and rescued an elderly man and woman who were still inside.
Fire officials say the man is in serious condition after suffering burn injuries. The woman and officers were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
A short time later, firefighters responded to a basement fire on the 1300 block of Van Buren Street NW. One firefighter was evaluated after the fire.
Fire officials say firefighters from neighboring jurisdictions filled in at D.C. stations while firefighters battled the three fires.