Calif. firefighter critically hurt in airport truck rollover

Veteran firefighter Mitchell Ow, 55, was not thrown from the vehicle, but sustained major injuries

The Daily Review

OAKLAND, Calif. — A firefighter suffered life-threatening injuries Tuesday morning after a fire rig crashed on a taxiway at Oakland International Airport during a training exercise, authorities said.

The wreck took place just before 11:45 a.m. during a simulated red alert drill to test emergency response time to incidents at the airport, said Sean Maher, spokesman for Mayor Jean Quan.

The Oakland firefighter was driving an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting rig — a vehicle equipped to carry 3,000 gallons of water and 420 gallons of foam — when the vehicle rolled during a turn in front of the Oakland Maintenance Center, formerly the United Airlines Hanger.

The 55-year-old firefighter, Mitchell Ow, a 28-year veteran of the Oakland Fire Department assigned to the airport, was not thrown from the vehicle, but sustained major injuries, Maher said. Firefighter Ow, the sole occupant on the rig, was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

No other injuries were reported.

The wreck closed the small taxiway but so far has not affected any flights or other property on the grounds, an airport spokesman said.

As of 2 p.m., the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol were assisting the Oakland Fire Department with the investigation. Two large tow trucks were also on scene.

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