The newest fire engine in the City of Manteca’s fleet and a 1998 Buick Park Avenue met each other in a slow speed head-on collision at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday on West Yosemite Avenue injuring the sedan’s two front seat occupants along with a back seat passenger and three firefighters.
Three women from the Buick were taken to area hospitals in two separate ambulances. Two of the three shaken firefighters were checked out for complaints of pain.
Fire Chief Kirk Waters said his Engine Company 244 was assigned to the new Del Webb station on Lathrop Road. It was en route with a crew of three to pick up needed equipment from another station when the crash occurred just east of Union Road.
Manteca Police spokesman, Traffic Sergeant Paul Carmona, said it was believed the westbound Buick drifted over the center line for an unknown reason into the path of the fire engine. Finding red paint transfers on the hood of the car suggested that the engine went atop the front of the car before it spun around facing the opposite direction. Both airbags in the front seat deployed. It was unclear whether the driver and the front seat passenger were wearing their seat belts, he said. A hole in the passenger side of the windshield indicated someone made contact during the impact, he added.
Driver of the fire engine, Travis Gooch, immediately called dispatch on his radio after the collision and requested resources to respond, Waters said. Gooch and Derrek Leon were taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure and later released.
Chief Waters said, “I’m just thankful the guys are OK and I offer a prayer that the occupants from the car are OK as well.”
The driver of the sedan was Michelle Mora, 35, of Manteca. Her passengers were not identified following the crash.
Waters said the 2007 engine has a price tag of $400,000. It was hauled away by a tow truck to the city’s corporation yard on Wetmore Street where mechanics are expected to evaluate the damage and determine whether it can be repaired or will need to be replaced. He said the city has a backup fire engine that will replace the unit at the Del Webb station.
The section of eastbound Yosemite Avenue that was affected by the crash was closed for about an hour to traffic.