Firefighters hit head-on, jump out to rescue other driver

Three firefighters and a 51-year-old man were taken to the hospital after a head-on crash Monday afternoon in Ormond-by-the-Sea.

Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said the driver of the SUV hit the Volusia County fire truck head-on, near Ocean Shore Boulevard and Sandra Drive just after noon. 

Jay Brandt witnessed the aftermath of the crash. He said despite being hurt, the firefighters jumped out of the fire truck and started life-saving measures on the driver of the SUV.

"And you could tell they were shook up too... They jumped out and did everything they did for the guy and took them on care flight," he said. 

The firefighters were taken to the hospital to be checked out for minor injuries. Meanwhile, the driver of the SUV was listed in critical condition in the last update from FHP. 

Troopers are investigating why the driver drove into the traffic lanes of the fire truck. A witness told investigators the SUV driver was driving in an aggressive and reckless manner.

FHP told FOX 35 that it's also investigating if the driver suffered some kind of medical episode that caused him to drive in that manner.

Brandt says he’s proud of the firefighters, who despite being hurt, didn’t hesitate to help the man.

"They’re just a bunch of great guys cause they went through a lot and got out and helped that guy real quick," he said.

Volusia County Fire Rescue released a statement about the incident:

Volusia County Fire Rescue Engine 14, with three firefighters on board, was involved in a head-on collision with a Chevy Tahoe at about 12:10 p.m. today on Ocean Shore Boulevard in Ormond-by-the-Sea.

"We’re very proud of our firefighters," said Volusia County Fire Rescue Chief Howard Bailey. "They were struck head-on, yet they were able to retrieve their equipment from the fire engine, extricate the other driver from his vehicle, and prepare him for transport to Halifax Health Medical Center. They maintained their composure throughout the incident and demonstrated the highest degree of professionalism."

The firefighters are being evaluated at Halifax Health. The Florida Highway Patrol is the lead agency and is performing the investigation.