On September 21, 2021, Mobile Fire-Rescue received several phone calls regarding a high-speed, multiple vehicle collision on the Cochrane Causeway. Initial reports were that several people were trapped in separate vehicles.
Multiple emergency response crews were dispatched to the scene at approximately 4:14 PM. Extreme weather conditions were present at the time of the accident, with heavy rain and hot, steamy asphalt contributing to a difficult response.
After arriving on scene just minutes later, firefighters established incident command, assessed the scene, and discovered 4 critically-injured patients with varying degrees of injuries. Additional extrication teams and paramedics were immediately requested to the scene.
After the collisions, all of the automobiles came to resting points, scattered across a scene that was approximately 250 yards. A single sedan was left unstable in a nearby ditch. Three patients were discovered trapped in crushed vehicles, while a fourth had been ejected from a pickup truck at the time of impact.
Heavy traffic jams on the Causeway added to the difficulty of responders making it to the scene as time was of the essence. Massive amounts of debris were strewn across the roadways. High temperatures and recent, heavy rain gave way to baking asphalt with rising steam.
The event placed tremendous stress and strain on the emergency response system and first responders, with 10 MFRD units assigned to the incident performing extensive extrications.
With 4 rapidly-deteriorating patients, time was pressing in order to keep their conditions from progressing from critical to grave. Even for the most experienced responder, this was not an easily-managed scene.
However, MFRD personnel were up to the task - quickly evaluating the scene, assigning appropriate roles to companies, accessing and assessing patients, rapidly extricating and triaging the patients accordingly.
Having 4 advanced life saving (ALS) rescue units with competent and capable paramedics on scene allowed for each of the patients to be properly treated for their traumatic injuries and quickly transported to area hospitals.
With so many adverse factors working against responders, the scene could easily have become chaotic. The incident, however, was well-managed, allowing for positive outcomes, thanks to the professionalism and preparedness of MFRD’s responding teams.
As such, the Mobile Fire-Rescue Department recognizes the responding crews, proudly presenting each of them the Meritorious Service Award.
District Chief John Pitt
Captain Michael Smith (not pictured)
Driver Seth Blitch
FF Bradley Clark (not pictured)
FF Forrest Anderson
Captain Sam Williams (not pictured)
Driver Craig Herman
FF Varian Doolittle
Driver Neil Sherer (not pictured)
FF Matthew Carrerra
FF Ewing Mayberry
FF Tre’ Alford (not pictured)
Driver Scott Manning
FF Hudson Shelton
Driver Michael Balmes (not pictured)
FF Nicholas Miller
FF Michael Luttrell (not pictured)
Driver Fayette Corlett (not pictured)
FF Ashlie Fristoe (not pictured)
Driver Daniel Davis
FF Eric Culpepper
FF Sean Hylton (not pictured)
FF Corey Kelley (not pictured)
Truck 17/Heavy Rescue 25:
Captain Dana Tanz
Driver Joshua Hults
Driver Steven Lee (not pictured)
FF Seth Nowell