Four people were injured Wednesday morning, Dec. 18, when an Exeter Township Fire Department vehicle collided with a heavy-duty work truck during an emergency call in the township, police said.
The crash happened shortly after 8 a.m. on an icy stretch of Shelbourne Road near Wingspread Drive. The half-mile stretch south of the intersection with Gibraltar Road was closed for six hours while an accident reconstruction team investigated.
Township Fire Chief Robert F. Jordan said two part-time paid firefighters, Michael Roth and Edgar Weitzel, were taken by ambulance to Reading Hospital. Roth was released after receiving emergency department care but Weitzel was undergoing further tests.
Jordan said he visited both men in the hospital after the crash and they were both alert and talking.
Roth was driving the utility vehicle, called a quick response vehicle, or QRV, and they were heading to Route 422 and Walmart for a report of an unconscious person, police said.
The fire department vehicle slid on a patch of ice and swiped a utility pole before crossing into the opposite lane and colliding with an oncoming Sensenig & Weaver Well Drilling truck, police said.
The fire crew called in the crash and reported they were trapped in the cab and injured. Another crew responded to free them.
The driver of the drilling company truck, Anthony Witmer, 41, of Terre Hill, Lancaster County, was also transported to Reading Hospital along with his passenger, whose name wasn't available, for unspecified injuries.
A hospital official said Witmer wasn't listed as a patient Wednesday afternoon.
Jordan said his department was dispatched on several consecutive emergency medical calls shortly before the crash.
"The situation leading up to the crash was unusual," he said. "There were four or five calls right in a row. This vehicle at first was responding to a cardiac arrest, but EMS (medical command) diverted them to an unconscious (person) at Walmart.
"Unfortunately, that road is treacherous to begin with. In this case, it must have been icy much before this accident."
The chief said he's not sure why the icy condition wasn't attended to.
"We're doing our investigation and looking at root cause and corrective action," Jordan said. "Our first priority is that our members are being attended to."
Jordan thanked the other departments that responded to assist Exeter.
"There's a lot of camaraderie within the emergency services and that was sure on display today," he said.