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CHP: Unsafe driving caused fire truck crash at Monterey Park restaurant

Unsafe driving of Alhambra fire truck caused crash into Monterey Park restaurant, CHP report says

Unsafe driving caused an Alhambra Fire Department truck to collide with a Monterey Park fire engine last spring, injuring 15 people, according to an investigation released Thursday.

Despite placing fault with the Alhambra fire engine’s driver, no charges are being filed in connection to the April 16, 2014, incident, according to a summary of the California Highway Patrol’s investigation. The CHP's full report was not released.

The two engines, which were both responding to a fire at a Monterey Park home, collided about 3 p.m. in the San Gabriel Valley city.

In the moments before the collision, the Alhambra fire truck had its sirens blaring and lights flashing as it headed southbound on Garfield Avenue at 15 mph, the CHP said.

Meanwhile, the Monterey Park fire truck was driving 20 to 25 mph eastbound on Emerson Avenue, also with its lights and sirens activated.

As both trucks arrived at Garfield and Emerson avenues, the Monterey Park truck had a green traffic light, while Alhambra’s truck had a red light.

“The Alhambra fire engine failed to ensure the intersection was safe to enter against the red signal light,” the CHP concluded.

Alhambra’s truck struck the front of the Monterey Park vehicle, which kept moving and smashed into a person and a street pole before ramming into the restaurant, Lu Dumpling House.

Five restaurant patrons and four pedestrians were injured. Six firefighters were also injured.

In a statement, Scott Haberle, chief of the Monterey Park Fire Department, said the investigation’s conclusions offered resolution and he thanked the CHP for its “time and diligence in investigating the tragic accident.”

“We are proud to serve this community and remain committed to the highest professional standards of safety and protection,” Haberle said.

Alhambra’s assistant city manager and fire chief did not respond to after-hours requests for comment.

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