Emergency responders express concern for safety after deadly accident

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by Chelsea Rabideau

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 6, 2014 at 11:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 7 at 11:03 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- After a deadly accident involving volunteer firefighters Wednesday morning police and former firefighters said emergency crews aren't getting the space they need to work safely, especially on the highways.

 
They have to fight fires and look over their shoulder for traffic at the same time, which can create a deadly situation.
 
At the cafe on the corner of Main Street in Glendale it's about all anyone can talk about.
 
"People are kind of devastated and still in shock that it happened," Mike Cummins, a resident, said.
 
A mother and son, both volunteer firefighters, were hit by a semi at a crash scene on I-65.
43-year-old Lisa French is recovering, but her son, 25-year-old Jonathan French, died.
 
"It's devastating to know that he's gone and his mama is in the hospital as well," Millie Baker, another resident, said. 
 
Mike Sievert worked as a volunteer firefighter in Oldham County for 17 years.
 
"This is every policeman, every firefighter’s nightmare of having one of their own struck and killed when it didn't need to be," Sievert said.
 
He said he has seen too many close calls.
 
"I experienced it out there, we almost got ran over one night by an elderly man that didn't see the fire truck or the police cars and he went right down the middle of the scene," he said.
 
Firefighters are often told by whichever law enforcement agency is in charge of the accident scene to keep at least one lane of traffic flowing unless they're working on a deadly accident, Sievert said, and  that can create an extremely dangerous situation.
 
"It's bad enough fighting a fire and then have to worry about flow of traffic is ridiculous," Sievert said.
 
For years he's worried that it would take someone losing their life at a scene for protocol to change.
 
"Fire department, police department, it's a big family, it's a brotherhood, when one hurts, we all feel the effect. It's time for them to stop, this has to stop," he said.
 

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