CENTER CITY (WTXF) - Traffic on I-95 southbound is finally flowing again through Center City after an hours-long closure. Meanwhile three of five firefighters sent to the hospital for injuries in the collision have now been discharged.
The trouble started at about 3am with an accident involving a fire truck and a tractor trailer underneath the Chestnut Street overpass, which closed the major expressway.
Philadelphia’s fire captain Clifford Gilliam told FOX29’s Jennifer Joyce the fire truck -- Ladder 16 -- had gotten to the scene of a two-car crash. Firefighters used the truck as a buffer from highway traffic. They were only there a few minutes when the tractor trailer lost control, hit them and jackknifed.
Since then, the tractor trailer was sitting perpendicular to the highway lanes.
Five firefighters were hurt and taken to Hahnemann Hospital in stable condition with cuts and bruises, according to one of the injured. Three of them have been discharged, but they’re still on hospital grounds.
Firefighters’ union president Andrew Thomas told FOX 29 news the big hero is the driver of the fire truck, Joseph Raday.
He's still being treated, but Thomas said Raday had the incredible instinct to see the tractor trailer coming and more the fire truck forward to get it out of the tractor trailer’s direct line of impact.
Otherwise, the firefighter steering the truck from the rear could've been seriously hurt and even ejected from the truck, if he hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt.
FOX 29’s Steve Keeley – at the scene since the start -- reported it happened after a torrential downpour.
Authorities let some cars get through the crash scene briefly, but people stuck at the scene for hours got out of their cars and walked around because they have not been able to move.