What we know about the fire truck that careened into a North Philly building

Police are still investigating what happened, as L&I works to avoid a collapse.

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.

Four firefighters who were injured Thursday afternoon after their truck crashed through the wall of a North Philly building have been released from the hospital, according to city officials. The driver of the car that hit the truck was also taken to the hospital; his condition is unclear.

With a giant gash in its side, the mixed-use building at 7th and Girard is now structurally unstable, officials told Billy Penn, with next steps still being determined.

The Philadelphia Police Department, which is actively investigating how it all went down, released a few new details on Friday afternoon.

Just after 4 p.m. on Thursday, Engine 29 reportedly had its lights and siren on as it headed east to answer a call near Front and Dauphin streets in Kensington. It was hit by a Toyota Avalon going the other direction, as the car was attempting to make a left turn, according to police.

As the driver of the fire truck swerved, ostensibly to avoid further impact, the engine hit the median that divides Girard, bounced into a parked Toyota 4-Runner, and careened across the avenue, landing with its front end buried in the building on the north side of the street.

fire engine accident
Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

After the crash, crews from the Department of Licenses and Inspections spent hours shoring up the structure so the fire truck lodged in its gray exterior wall could be removed without danger of immediate collapse.

The building at 701 Girard Ave. is still considered “imminently dangerous,” said L&I spokesperson Karen Guss, and violations have been issued. Department staff, she added “will meet today with the property owner and an engineer to determine next steps for rectifying the damage going forward.”

Deed records show the building, valued at $830,000, is owned by apartment rental company Sanchez Realty.

It’s unclear if there was anyone inside the ground floor space when the truck crashed through. There were no injuries reported from inside the building, according to the Fire Department on Twitter.

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

The driver of the car that appeared to start the chain reaction was taken to the hospital, according to information police.

Fire Department spokesperson Kathy Matheson, who confirmed that all firefighters were released, also had no information about that person. On Thursday evening, however, assistant Fire Chief Charles Walker told 6ABC the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

The  investigation is ongoing, according to Ofc. Tanya Little, a police spokesperson, who said no charges have yet been issued.


Mornings are for coffee and local news

Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter gives you a daily roundup of the top Philly stories you need to start your day.

You finished another Billy Penn article — keep it up!

We hope you found it useful, fun, or maybe even both. If you want more stories like this, will you join us as a member today?

Nice to see you (instead of a paywall)

Billy Penn’s mission is to provide free, quality information to Philadelphians through our articles and daily newsletter. If you believe local journalism is key to a healthy community, join us!

Your donation brought this story to life

Billy Penn only exists because of supporters like you. If you find our work valuable, consider making a sustaining donation today.

Being informed looks good on you

Thanks for reading another article, made possible by members like you. Want to share BP with a friend?