Engineer Nathan Oden receives Exceptional Service Award for his actions which ‘saved several lives’ during incident in Fontana last year | News

An extremely dangerous incident took place in Fontana in the early morning hours of June 3, 2022.

A fire engine that was responding to a traffic collision on the Interstate 10 Freeway was struck from behind by a semi truck, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

But despite the chaos at the scene, no persons were hospitalized with injuries, thanks in part to the quick thinking of Engineer Nathan Oden, who recently received the Exceptional Service Award for 2022 from the Fire Department.

“Nathan’s awareness for the emergency crews and civilians on scene ultimately saved several lives,” the Fire Department said in a news release.

The incident took place on westbound I-10, just east of Sierra Avenue, when firefighters in Medic Engine 76 (ME76) from the Bloomington station were working to safely block the scene of an earlier collision.

At that point, a big rig suddenly smashed into ME76 from behind at 2:34 a.m.

“Thankfully, all SBCoFD personnel were outside of the apparatus when it was struck and were not injured by the secondary collision,” said Battalion Chief Mike McClintock.

Firefighter-paramedics assessed the situation for injuries and provided immediate care to two occupants of the large vehicle. Both people inside the truck had minor injuries and declined transport.

“The apparatus was successful in shielding the original scene and no first responders or members of the public were injured by the secondary collision,” McClintock said.

However, ME76 sustained significant damage, and crews from Station 76 had to begin using a reserve apparatus in order to continue to provide service to Bloomington and the surrounding area.

The California Highway Patrol was investigating the cause of both collisions.

Assistant Chief Jeff Birchfield said he was thankful that no firefighters, emergency responders, and others at the scene were not hurt.

“We are fortunate that this incident had a positive outcome, but it’s a great reminder to stay alert while driving and be cautious around incidents on the freeway,” said Birchfield, who oversees operations in Division 1, including Fontana.

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