Taipei firefighter killed when truck cabin suddenly flips over

Taipei firefighter perishes after firetruck cabin suddenly flips forward

Flipped over cabin. (Photo from Taipei City Fire Department)

Flipped over cabin. (Photo from Taipei City Fire Department)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Yesterday morning (Oct. 15), a firefighter lost his life after his firetruck cabin suddenly flipped forward at an intersection in Taipei, reported UDN.

Following the completion of a semi-annual maintenance inspection of one of the department's firetrucks at 9 a.m. yesterday morning, the 45-year-old captain of the Guangming Branch of the Taipei City Fire Department, Lee Yao-wen (李耀文), began driving the vehicle back to the station. When he came upon a red light on Dadu Road and applied the brakes, the cabin of the truck suddenly came loose and flipped forward, causing Lee to fly through the windshield and onto the pavement.

The truck continued to lurch forward and ran over Lee, causing fatal injuries to his head and chest, with it finally coming to a stop upon hitting a roadside utility pole about 50 meters farther on. Construction workers who witnessed the accident immediately alerted the police, but when an ambulance arrived on the scene, Lee was not showing any vital signs and paramedics were unable to resuscitate him.

The manager of the vehicle inspection station, surnamed Chen, said that Lee had locked the cabin of the truck back in place on his own. Police said that the key point of their investigation is whether the cabin had been properly locked back in place following the inspection.

Police are currently reviewing surveillance camera footage to determine whether the truck's cabin had been locked in accordance with standard operating procedures because a preliminary inspection of the locking mechanism did not reveal any failure or damage.

A betel nut vendor surnamed Huang (黃), whose stall was near the scene of the accident, said that she suddenly hear a loud "bang" coming from the intersection. She saw the cabin of the firetruck suddenly flip over and watched the vehicle continue to roll forward until it slammed into a utility pole.

The fire department said that Lee had served as a firefighter for 25 years and was among the first members of Taiwan's International Headquarters S.A.R. The fire department said that it "regrets very much the loss of an outstanding firefighter," and that it will seek compensation for his death on duty.

(Photo from Taipei City Fire Department)