Fire truck crashes into Monterey Park restaurant, injuring 14 (updated)

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Update 7:05 p.m. This type of incident is rare, say fire chiefs

"This is the first time in my career of over 30 years that I've encountered an accident like this," said Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell. 

Alhambra Fire Chief Bill Walker echoed how rare it is for fire trucks to collide like a Monterey Park fire truck and Alhambra fire truck did Wednesday.

"We run calls every day together and Alhambra has been around since 1906," said Walker. "This isn't something I've ever heard of happen."

-- KPCC's Rebecca Plevin

Update 6:43 p.m. Restaurant employee reacts to crash

The crash in Monterey Park left one truck embedded in the restaurant, with shattered glass and rubble scattered across the sidewalk. Chairs and tables were scattered inside.

"There was a loud boom and a lot of shaking. I thought it was an earthquake," said Wendy Wu, a waitress who was in a walk-in freezer when the truck plowed through the front of the restaurant.

When she walked out from the freezer, uninjured, she saw a refrigerator pushed across the room and furniture in disarray. Wearing a uniform with the restaurant logo and speaking through an interpreter, she said she saw several injured people bleeding and attempting to stand.

Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell said trucks from his city and neighboring Alhambra were responding to a house fire shortly after 3 p.m. when they slammed into each other. One truck then plowed into the restaurant, and 14 people were injured, he said.

Rosa Saca, a spokeswoman for Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, said nine victims were brought there, including the five firefighters. She said the critically injured person was among the hospital's patients but is not one of the firefighters.

An investigation was underway to determine what caused the crash.

-- John Rogers, AP

Update 6:12 p.m. Five firefighters injured 

At least five firefighters are among 14 people who were injured when two firetrucks collided in a Los Angeles suburb, sending one careening across a sidewalk and into a restaurant.

Officials say one of the victims is in critical condition.

The crash in Monterey Park left one truck embedded in the restaurant, with rubble scattered across the sidewalk.

Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell says trucks from his city and neighboring Alhambra were responding to a house fire shortly after 3 p.m. when they slammed into each other. One truck then plowed into the restaurant.

Nine victims were taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, including the five firefighters and the critically injured victim.

An investigation is underway to determine what caused the crash.

-- AP

Updated 5:15 p.m. Public advised to avoid area 

The Alhambra Police Department said the following in a traffic advisory:

Emergency personnel are at the scene attending to the injured, which has caused extreme congestion in the vicinity. Please look for alternate routes as you travel through the area on your way home or to other destinations.

 

-- KPCC staff 

Earlier:

Police say two fire trucks have collided in a Los Angeles suburb, slamming one engine into a restaurant and causing several injuries, some of them critical, the Associated Press reported. 

The fire truck collided into the building near Garfield and Emerson avenues at about 3:15 p.m., according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, reported NBCLA.

Monterey Park Fire and CHP authorities said there were 14 patients in total, according to ABC7

Monterey Park police Lt. Carrie Mazelin says the crash Wednesday afternoon took place while other trucks were responding to a fire call, said AP. 

KPCC's Maya Sugarman tweeted this photo of the back end of a fire truck protruding from a restaurant called Lu Dumpling House.

Monterey restaurant crash

Mazelin says there are several injuries reported and some people are listed as critical, AP reported. 

Many victims are being loaded onto stretchers and walked to nearby Garfield Medical Center, NBCLA reporter Gadi Schwartz tweeted:

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