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Monterey Park fire truck crash: 'It was really bad,' witness says

Investigators said it was not immediately clear what caused two fire trucks to collide Wednesday afternoon in Monterey Park, sending one careening into a Chinese restaurant and injuring at least 14 people.

It also was not known how many of the injured were patrons at Lu's Dumpling House or pedestrians, but fire officials said four firefighters suffered minor to moderate injuries. No fatalies were reported, but officials told reporters at least one person was critically injured.

The crash was reported at 3:12 p.m. at the intersection of Garfield and Emerson avenues, Monterey Park police Lt. Carrie Mazelin said. One of the trucks was from the Alhambra Fire Department; officials said the engine that ended up in the restaurant was from Monterey Park.

Monterey Park Fire Chief Jim Birrell said the vehicles were responding to a call related to a house fire in Monterey Park.

Christina Lee, who works at the nearby Monterey Park Florist, said she was helping a customer when they heard a loud boom.

She said all of the customers rushed outside to see what happened and were stunned.

“It was really bad,” she said. “I still don’t know what happened. I hope everyone’s okay.” 

Television footage showed at least three people sitting up on stretchers being wheeled to nearby Garfield Medical Center. Officials said those injured were taken to several area hospitals.

The footage also showed dozens of firefighters and police officers at the intersection by mid-afternoon, with triage tarps still in the street. The truck had crashed into a significant portion of the restaurant and was surrounded by rubble.

The California Highway Patrol's major accident team will lead the investigation into the crash. Alhambra police said area streets would be closed for an estimated two hours because of "extreme congestion in the vicinity."


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