Four California Firefighters Critically Injured, Two Dead

Five California firefighters serving on an inmate release crew were at least critically injured after a head-on collision north of Los Angeles, with one dead and the driver of the other vehicle also losing his life.

Authorities told the Contra Costa Times that a Subaru Forester crossed into incoming traffic, and the two vehicles collided head-on. A dozen inmate firefighters were in the vehicle at the time, according to the newspaper.

Fernando Sanchez was ejected from the corrections vehicle and died on the scene, while Milton Bacon of Gardnerville, Nevada also died on the scene. The news outlet also noted that:

Three of the inmates were pinned underneath the truck when the first rescue engine arrived along the narrow rural highway, fire Capt. Mark Savage said.

A truck towing a forklift happened to be caught in traffic backed up by the crash. A firefighter asked the truck driver to unload the forklift, and he freed the trapped inmates.

“They saved those folks,” Savage said. “It would have taken 45 minutes to get heavy equipment to that remote location.”

While the inmates had been convicted of crimes, the crash brings to mind the fact that all workers deserve the ability to get to and from work in a safe fashion. Other drivers may wish to keep in mind that unless you sign a contract stating otherwise, California employers who transport workers to various locations need to ensure the conditions are safe for California employees.

[Image: Uberto via Flickr]