WASHINGTON - A rookie D.C. firefighter is fighting for his life after he was hit by a ladder truck at the scene of a house fire late Wednesday night on Capitol Hill. Dane Smothers, Jr., 28, is listed in critical condition in ICU at Washington Medstar Hospital. He has only been on the job for a couple of months.
Smothers' engine responded to the two-alarm blaze at a home in the 800 block of F Street NE around 11:30 pm Wednesday. He was getting ready to attack flames at the house on F Street when he was pinned between two fire department vehicles.
Multiple sources tell FOX 5 the engine he was riding on had just pulled into the block and Smothers began working on the hose. He was pinned against the engine by the ladder truck. Those sources tell FOX 5 his injuries were traumatic. He was knocked unconscious and medics revived him with CPR.
Smothers was assigned to an engine company near the Capitol, where he got to know firefighter Margie Dickey over the last couple of months. She drives Engine 3 and says Smothers is a fairly quiet guy.
"He smiles when you talk to him," Dickey told FOX 5."He doesn't say a whole lot unless you talk to him first. I understand when he goes out that he becomes a little more lively, but here, I think that he is just here to do a job and he is here to do it well."
Dickey says she worries about other rookies on the job, after this accident. Smothers had only been out of the academy a little over two months.
"He is still close with a lot of his rookies--a lot of the recruits who came out with him-- and seeing somebody injured this early in his career is really disheartening for the young ones because they havne't yet learned how to bond with all of us yet, and they haven't learned how to cope with this type of traumatic event," Dickey said.
Smothers has two uncles who are also on the job. One of theme was working when the accident happened and responded to the very same fire.
The Smothers family issued a statement Thursday afternoon, and in it, they asked for prayers and privacy.
"As you all are aware, Dane Smothers, Jr. was critically injured on the scene of a fire early this morning. He is currently in Washington Medstar Hospital's Intensive Care Unit. We ask that you please respect our privacy and keep him in your prayers."
DC Fire and EMS said Smothers is surrounded by family, friends and his fellow firefighters as he fights for his life.
"This incident reminds us all of the bravery and dedication of our first responders," said D.C. Mayor Bowser in a statement Thursday morning. "We owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. Our thoughts and prayers are with Firefighter Smothers, his family, and his fellow Fire & EMS colleagues. We will do all we can to assist them during this very difficult time."