Which fire truck had right of way?

March 31, 2009 3:10:01 PM PDT
Eyewitness News has the latest developments on Monday's fire truck collision in the Montrose area.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

One of the victims was a woman on a bicycle who is still in critical condition. Two firefighters also remain in the hospital. While they recover, investigators have a better idea of what happened at the intersection and about the fire call that started it all.

The Houston Police Department is still in the preliminary stages of the investigation but Tuesday afternoon, they say it appears the ladder trucks was headed north on Dunlavy and ran a red light. The pumper truck was on Westheimer, which has an Opticom to turn it green, and so the pumper truck had the right of way.

"It's a red light and they can't see and in this came with two fire trucks. The one that had the green has the right of way," said District Chief Tommy Dowdy of the Houston Fire Department.

That would have been the pumper truck headed west on Westheimer with the right of way. Instead, 11 people were sent to the hospital when the pumper truck and the ladder truck collided in the intersection of Dunlavy and Westheimer Monday.

The call came from a building on San Felipe. We went there but the owner did not want to talk to us on camera. They told us they saw smoke coming out of a vent so they called for help. They later learned there was no fire, but that the smoke was coming out of the sewer system.

Both the police investigation and the fire department investigation continue.

"They will have an opportunity to speak to the members that were on the units to get a better understanding and confirmation of what responsibilities, what they did, what did they see, what was taking place at that time" said Executive Asst. Chief Rick Flanagan of the Houston Fire Department.

There is no word at this point when the HFD internal investigation will be over and the final results available.

We called Public Works and we were told that they were not conducting smoke testing through the sewers on Monday.

As for the woman on the bicycle, her name is Leigh Boone and she remains in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Of the nine firefighters hurt in the accident, two remain in hospitals. Firefighters Brian Edwards and Michael Mayfield are in stable condition, both underwent surgery Monday night. Captain Mayfield has served the Houston Fire Department for 34 years and Edwards for 19 years.

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