Tukwila firefighter injured responding to accident on I-5 Saturday

A veteran Tukwila firefighter suffered non-life-threatening injuries Saturday evening while responding to a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 5 in Tukwila at its intersection with I-405.

A veteran Tukwila firefighter suffered non-life-threatening injuries Saturday evening while responding to a single-vehicle accident on Interstate 5 in Tukwila at its intersection with I-405.

The firefighter, whose name wasn’t released, was treated at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and released late Saturday. He’s been with the department for 12 years.

“He still has a road ahead of him before he reaches full recovery,” said Battalion Chief Martin Grisham, a spokesman for the Tukwila Fire Department on Monday.

The firefighter was checking the driver of a vehicle that had crashed into a barrier at about 6 p.m., when a second vehicle approached from behind, according to Grisham.

According to Trooper Chris Webb, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, the driver of the second vehicle lost control and hit the disabled vehicle in the gore point, pushing it into the firefighter.

Road conditions may have contributed to the accident, according to Webb.

The driver of the second vehicle would be cited if found at fault for the collision, under state patrol policy, he said.

The firefighter was treated on the scene by other members of the Tukwila Fire Department and South King County paramedics, then transported to Harborview.

The driver of the first vehicle suffered non-life-threatening injuries, according to Grisham. The passengers in the second car weren’t injured.

A Tukwila fire crew had arrived at the accident scene before troopers, having just cleared an accident farther north on I-5 near Interurban Avenue, according to Grisham.

The fire department has a “clear regiment” to block traffic at an accident scene, he said.

Grisham stressed when motorists see emergency lights ahead, they need to slow down and pull over one lane, a timely reminder now that winter has returned. Cold weather and bad road conditions played a part in the accident Saturday night, he said.

The intersection of I-5 and I-405 is the busiest in the state, Grisham said, and it’s unfamiliar to many motorists traveling to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, he said.

In just the last week, three state patrol cruisers, with lights activated parked on the side of a freeway, have been hit in King County, according to Webb. For the year that number is about a dozen.

Accidents can occur because drivers with all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive become overconfident, he said. That may help people get around, he said, but “it doesn’t necessarily make you stop faster.”

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