Monday, April 5, 2010

King Street Auto Accident, Shippensburg...

Lets hope this works, I normally post my photographs first followed by the text otherwise my photos will not get larger when clicked. But for the sake of telling the story of what occurred I am going to try and put text between the photographs. On Friday morning at 11:06 a.m. a box alarm was dispatched for 79 West King Street in the borough of Shippensburg for an auto accident with a vehicle into the building. Units arrived on the scene and quickly realized this was not the usual car into a building call. The jeep struck a limestone building that was constructed in 1806 and because of multiple occupancy changes over the years the structure had a supporting column installed in the front corner where the auto struck it causing a collapse of the limestone structure onto the vehicle. If you look at the photo above you will find four arrows with a red number inside, #1 shows debris from the initial impact of the jeep into the rear end of a passenger car, #2 indicates the area the jeep then entered the sidewalk and photograph #3 is the final resting place for the auto that was struck in the rear by the jeep. Arrow number 4 points to the building located past the red brick structure that was struck by the jeep causing the building collapse.

This photograph shows arrows 2 and 4 a little better. The bottom arrow points to paint markings on the sidewalk indicating tire tread for point of entry onto the sidewalk and the second arrow indicated debris as the jeep traveled down the walk. The arrow in the center of the photo indicated the building struck by the jeep. Somehow he managed to travel a distance in a straight line before striking the building in just the right location to bring it down.

The above photograph is the auto struck before the bridge by the jeep.

This was the scene when I arrived in Shippensburg. What you will not see is photograph of the victims or any part of them. For FD purposes those photos could have been taken by me but out of respect for the deceased and there family I have never felt right doing so and make a conscious effort to not have that in the photo.

Upon the Shippensburg Fire Departments arrival firefighters began removing the mass amount of limestone from the jeep to gain access to the patients. At the same time personnel had to enter the Sentinel office to insure everyone was evacuated and that a rescue effort would not be necessary in that location also. Besides these details utilities had to be controlled along with the potential for fire or additional collapse. I do not have a timeline on this but from sitting at home listening the volunteers accomplished this task in a quick and efficient manner.
Once determining that both patients were deceased and hazards were controlled a game plan was established that included calling Cumberland County Team 500 for technical rescue. There job would be to shore up the building and lift the center steel beam enough to remove the vehicle from the structure safely.

Firefighters finish cribbing up to the building and installing air bags to lift the beam from the jeep.
The limestone structure was attached to another one that created addition worries. Tape was placed on the opening between the two that was created when the collapse occurred. A safety person was appointed to watch this tape as work progressed to insure additional movement didn't occur.
The above photograph is firefighter Jamie White, Jamie assumed the operations role for the incident. Tomorrow I will bring you part 2 (of 2) that involves the actual lift and removal of the jeep along with the outcome of the incident. I want tip my hat the Shippensburg Fire Department, they are highly trained and always rise to the occasion. I listened to the initial phases of the incident before responding and they sounded professional. Shippensburg is blessed to have so many active well trained volunteers in it's community that are second to none. I for one am proud to have come from Shippensburg and thankful they gave me the skills to do it for a living. The SFD has truly earned the right to carry the slogan "No Body Does It Better". It was a hard day for shooting photos also, harsh bright sun and reflective surfaces, often shooting into the sun and jockeying for a position to get a photo made it difficult. If you look at this site but have never seen my other site visit "Shippensburg Fire and EMS History" for a daily history of the SFD and surrounding area.


Woody said...

Hey Brad,

I'm back. Good set of photos, even though a sad situation. I can't believe the damage to the building. I think thats the worst I have ever seen, in my career anyway.

I agree with you about posting photos of victims. I never felt comfortable with even trying to do it and I won't ever do it. I know photographers down here that do it, but thats not me.

I do plan on doing armed forces day with you again, just let me know the dates and I do want to get up and visit next time your working in da'burg..

wefr15 said...


Great shots of a very complex and tragic scene. I agree with Woody about deceased victims 100%.

I looks like you are giving Clopper a run for his money :-)

Brad Myers said...

I never felt right photographing injured or deceased victims and I have never felt that it is something for the general public to see.

Bill I will not even comment on your last sentence, LOL.

Jeff Sullivan said...

Quite a documentary of the incident in Shippensburg. I am especially stricken by the seriousness of expression of firefighter White. Coincidentally, while traveling to work in TN yesterday, I arrived just minutes following a (3) car accident just south of Fort Deposit, AL on I-65. A child appeared to have been ejected and was being attended by passers-by until first responders arrived. I immediately thought of my 4 yr old and remain shaken from viewing the scene.