DSCF1546_mod01DSCF1546_mod02London firefighter Richard Roman died early this morning after he was pinned for more than half an hour under a fire truck that rolled twice after colliding with an ambulance as both vehicles raced to an apartment fire.

An investigation has been launched into the accident at the intersection of Mornington Avenue and Curry Street which also sent three other firefighters, an ambulance driver and an attendant to Victoria Hospital. All but one firefighter was treated and released.

Fire Chief Ray Morley said “it appears” the fire department pumper did not heed a stop sign at the intersection.

Roman, 32, of 14 Blueridge Place, had been a firefighter for seven years. The father of two was riding on a jumpseat behind the cab of the truck when the vehicle spun and rolled.

Witness Mary Edwards said firefighters and police officers using a tow truck work for more than half an hour before they were able to Roman out from under the vehicle.  They applied mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and pounded his chest to try to revive him, she said.

“I was in bed and heard a quick series of bang, bang, bang and the whole house shook,” said Mrs. Edwards, who lives at 451 Mornington Ave., the property where the truck ended up. “I jumped up and saw the fire truck, it was so close, and all I could see was the guy’s (Roman) feet, just the bottoms sticking out from under the truck.

Mrs. Edwards, who watched the scene from her living room window, said a firefighter went up to Roman and “… it looked as if he thought he was alive. The only thing that kept running through my mind was whether he was dead or alive.”

A spokesperson for Victoria Hospital said he was dead on arrival.

Witness Mary Edwards said she watched as firemen tried to revive their buddy, Richard Roman, who was killed in an ambulance-pumper crash in London today.

Witness Mary Edwards said she watched as firemen tried to revive their buddy,
Richard Roman, who was killed in an ambulance-pumper crash in London today.

Firefighter Ross Lamond, 43, who was in the cab of the fire truck, was listed in good condition in Victoria Hospital after undergoing an operation.

Capt Jim Brown, 46, firefighter Don Jeffery, 32, and Thames Valley Ambulance driver Dave Quantrill, 26, were all treated and released.

Dave Quantrill.....treated and released.

Dave Quantrill…..treated and released.

A police inspector at the scene said the ambulance was heading east on Mornington and the truck was heading south on Curry when they collided. The pumper was struck in the right rear and the driver’s side was caved in. The front of the ambulance was also crushed.

Police Sgt. Harold Pym, who was about 200 feet behind the, said he “couldn’t believe it” when the pumper

rolled on its left side, turned over and dropped.  He said he jumped out of his cruiser and heard three firemen “yelling and hollering” alongside the truck.

A crowd of area residents gathered as firefighters and police officers worked under a light drizzle with flashers providing light in the early-morning hours to clear hoses and debris from the site of the accident.  The accident occurred about 3:15 a.m. and it took until after 5:30 a.m. to clean up the debris.

“They’re (firemen) pretty shaken up.  It was their buddy that got killed,” one police officer said.

Firemen said an ambulance routinely responds to a general alarm.

The last incident to claim a firefighter’s life while on duty occurred in 1934, when District Chief Stanley Scruby and Lt. Arthur Hartop died while fighting a fire at Hunt’s Flour Mill in London east.

There was about $7,000 damage to the apartment building at 175 Cannaught Ave.