Four firefighters and three civilians were injured early Wednesday morning when a tractor trailer and a fire engine collided and flipped over a dividing wall on Interstate 495 in Prince George's County, according to fire officials.
The accident temporarily closed all lanes of the highway in both directions as emergency responders reached the scene and began treating the injured, and some lanes remained closed hours later.
About 2:50 a.m., the fire engine was responding to another accident on the inner loop of the Capital Beltway just south of Route 50 when it was rear-ended by the tractor trailer, said Chief Alicia Francis, a Prince George's Fire Department spokeswoman.
Both the fire engine and the tractor trailer flipped over a dividing wall into the outer loop of the highway, Francis said.
A sports utility vehicle also overturned on the outer loop, though it was not immediately known how the vehicle became involved, Francis said.
There were four firefighters on the fire engine, and all four were injured and taken to the Prince George's Hospital Center. One was later transported to Baltimore's Union Memorial Hospital in critical condition but is expected to survive, Francis said.
The other three non-critical firefighters had been released from the hospital as of 8:30 a.m.
The tractor trailer driver and two individuals who were in the sports utility vehicle were also transported to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, Francis said.
As of 8:45 a.m., the two far right lanes of the inner loop were open to traffic, while the three right lanes of the outer loop were getting by. All other lanes remained closed as responders worked to clear the scene, Francis said.
"We're still trying to upright the tractor trailer," she said from the scene. The fire engine had been uprighted.