Acting Captain McGowan and the members of his engine company were responding to an apartment fire in their first-due area. The company was responding with emergency lights and siren in operation on a 4-lane roadway.
Traffic in the right-hand lane stopped to yield for the responding engine, and a car stopped in the left-hand lane. As the engine crossed the center line to go around the stopped traffic, the car in the left-hand lane attempted to execute a left-hand turn. The engine veered to the left in an attempt to avoid a collision, struck the turning vehicle, struck a vehicle parked in the opposing direction of traffic, struck a utility pole, and then struck a large tree. The seating position of Acting Captain McGowan bore the brunt of the collision.
Acting Captain McGowan was extricated and transported to a hospital. He was unresponsive when first assessed and never regained heart functions. He was pronounced dead at the hospital as a result of his injuries.
The driver of the turning vehicle was operating without a valid driver?019s license. Acting Captain McGowan was not wearing a seat belt, the apparatus driver was wearing a seat belt, and the seat belt usage of the 2 passenger firefighters was unknown.