Monterey Park's fire chief said during a news conference on Thursday that he had never seen an accident the magnitude of Wednesday's crash that left 15 people hurt when two fire trucks plowed into a restaurant.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time ... we don't have anything like this occur," said Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell.
Lu's Dumpling House owner Vivian Lu said a man was on the sidewalk when the 40,000-pound fire engine jumped the curb, pushing him as it slammed through her restaurant near Garfield and Emerson avenues about 3:25 p.m.
When the fire truck came to a stop, a man was found pinned beneath it.
Cellphone video captured the moment when a firefighter attempted to help the man under the front bumper of the engine. The victim was believed to be hospitalized in critical condition.
"A lot blood,” Lu said. ”I see a lot blood."
Lu said the impact of the crash also pushed a built-in cashier's table across the floor, sending a waitress into a wall and making the building unstable.
Six firefighters suffered minor to moderate injuries, and eight other people had minor injuries. One person was in critical condition. A total of 15 people were hurt.
"I see a few people sitting on the street and all this blood," Lu said.
The crash happened down the street from Garfield Medical Center, where many of the victims were being taken on foot by firefighters.
The crash occurred when a fire truck and a fire engine crashed while responding to a house on fire. Both trucks were blaring sirens and running lights, one truck from Montery Park Fire Department and the other from the Alhambra Fire Department. All firefighters on board were wearing ear protecting headsets to dampen the sirens noise.
"It is ear protection from the noise of your own sirens so they do diminish the sound from outside," Alhambra Fire Department Chief Bill Walker said.
Neighbors ended up helping put out the house fire that both departments were responding to at the time of the crash.