JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A veteran captain with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department was seriously injured Sunday morning when the fire engine he was driving crashed and overturned on Interstate 10 near Lenox Avenue, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers said the truck was heading east about 9 a.m. when the driver lost control of the truck, which caused it to veer off the highway and hit the guardrail, going through it and onto the grass shoulder, where it flipped on its side.
Capt. Daniel Arms, 53, was the only person in the fire truck at the time.
Interim JFRD Chief Keith Powers said prior to the crash, Rescue 32 had responded to a call about a patient with breathing issues. He said Arms stayed behind while the rest of the crew went to a hospital with the patient. He was going to drive the engine and pick them up.
A 911 call came in at 9:01 a.m. notifying authorities that a JFRD engine had hydroplaned and overturned.
Powers said Arms, who has been with JRFD for 16 years, was pulled out by bystanders. Arms was taken to UF Heath Jacksonville, where he was admitted in stable but serious condition. He has since been upgraded to good condition.
Sources told News4Jax that Arms suffered a thoracic spine fracture and is likely facing surgery.
A JFRD damage review board will investigate the crash while the FHP conducts its investigation.
Fire captains don't normally drive fire engines, but Randy Wyse of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters said all personnel are tested every three years on the operation of the vehicles.
"Everybody is well trained to drive any apparatus if they are a member of JFRD," Wyse said.
A recent News4Jax I-TEAM report found that police and fire rescue crashes cost taxpayers an estimated $8.5 million over a five-year period.