Volunteer Fire Company Coping with Wreck

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COOLBAUGH TOWNSHIP -- A fire department in Monroe County was at a loss Monday after a deadly collision with a taxi over the weekend.

The cab crashed into an emergency vehicle Sunday with four firefighters on board.

They were hurt and that vehicle is now out of service.

Coolbaugh Township Volunteer Firefighters were still coping with the crash that killed a cab diver and destroyed a department vehicle.

The crash also injured four of their volunteer firefighters, two of them teens, who were on their way back from battling a blaze nearby.

"It really hurts when you see your brothers and sisters go down because of injury, because of a tragic event," said Coolbaugh Township Volunteer Fire Company Assistant Chief Bill Weimer.

The Monroe County Coroner said on Sunday, Michael West of Hamilton Township was driving a vehicle for the Pocono Cab Company on Route 196 when he lost control on the wet road.

He slid into the path of a Coolbaugh Township Volunteer Fire Company Vehicle, known as the company's "traffic unit".

It hauls equipment that's used at fire and traffic accident scenes.

The cab driver died and the four volunteer firefighters were taken to the hospital.

"They cut their own people out of their own vehicle to get them the medical assistance that they needed. They acted as a team," said Weimer.

Traffic equipment is normally carried by the traffic unit.

The big question now is, how is the fire company going to haul all of that gear onto scene. Because the company rescue and ladder trucks only have so much room and they also have a weight limit.

"It carried a lot of our traffic equipment, traffic control, crowd control. That's no longer here, the community is going to feel the effect of it," said Weimer.

The fire company is now trying to figure out other ways to transport their gear.

As for the two firefighters in the hospital, they were scheduled to have surgery Monday and are expected to be okay.