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Thread: LaGrange Firefighter Killed When Fire Truck Collides With Train

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    LaGrange Firefighter Killed When Fire Truck Collides With Train

    LaGrange Firefighter Killed When Fire Truck Collides With Train

    JAY WARREN
    Courtesy of WAVE 3 Television, Kentucky


    BUCKNER, Kentucky -- A LaGrange firefighter was killed Monday night after a freight train ran into the side of the pumper truck he was driving.

    The collision happened along Highway 146, just west of LaGrange. Firefighters from LaGrange and Oldham County were returning home from a training exercise when the accident happened.

    The train was headed westbound and the truck was northbound as it crossed the crossing into the path of the oncoming train. The train crossing is not equipped with flashing lights or barricades.

    The train collided with the truck on the passenger side, throwing the large truck more than 40 feet from the point of impact. The driver was ejected from the truck and thrown as far as 60 feet.

    Forty-eight-year-old Richard Dake was taken to University Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

    Witnesses say the train was sounding its horn as it approached the crossing. Oldham County police say the train could have been traveling between 35 and 40 miles per hour.

    J.P. Meador of the Oldham County Police Department he wasn't sure why Dake didn't see or hear the oncoming train. "Why the driver of the truck did not see or hear the train coming, we're not sure yet."

    No one else was on board the truck.


    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2002/ky_mar5b.html

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    Kentucky Firefighter Killed In Train Collision

    Kentucky Firefighter Killed In Train Collision

    HEATHER CASPI
    Firehouse.Com News

    LA GRANGE, Kentucky -- Firefighter Richard J. Dake, 48, was killed in the line of duty Monday night when a train collided with the tanker he was driving.

    Dake joined the LaGrange, KY Fire and Rescue Department in September 1999, said department PIO Keith Smith.

    After a live-burn training exercise Monday evening at a vacant house, firefighters were proceeding back to Station 1 when tragedy struck.

    Dake was driving a tanker down the private drive of the vacant house. He was the only occupant of the vehicle.

    The private drive intersects with a set of railroad tracks, marked with a cross bar but no lights or gate.

    Smith said this is common for rural, private drives in the area.

    Dake proceeded across the tracks and was struck by a CSX train on the passenger side of the cab and pushed down the tracks. He was ejected from the tanker.

    The emergency call came in at 9:52 p.m. and EMS arrived quickly because they were still near the scene, Smith said.

    Dake was airlifted to University Hospital in Louisville, an eight minute flight away from the crash scene, where he was pronounced dead at 10:25 p.m.

    This was the first time the fire department had to respond to a major accident involving one of its own members.

    "We're very tight-knit. We're going to make it through with the support of all those amongst us and around us," he said.

    Dake was retired from the Army and worked as a corrections facility employee at a local prison. He is survived by his wife and four children, ranging from age three to 27.

    "He was very, very goal oriented," Smith said.

    Last year the department members got together to write their goals for the year. "One of the goals Richard had written down was he wanted to become certified to operate tanker trucks," Smith said, holding back his emotions. "He did that. He accomplished that goal."

    Oldham County Police are investigating the accident to determine why Dake didn't see or hear the train coming. They plan to analyze the train's data recorder for information about whether the horn was blowing and the speed of the train.

    As Smith was talking, a train could be heard in the background, running right past Station 1.

    "It's kind of ironic," he said. "It's going to remind us every day now."

    The LaGrange Fire & Rescue Department is an all-volunteer department with 42 members. They protect a population of 15,000 in a primarily residential area of 51 square miles, and they operate out of three stations. The death of Richard Dake is the department's first loss in the line of duty since 1972, when firefighter Mayfield Rankin suffered a heart attack at the scene of a house fire. Rankin's five sons later served the department, and his grandson is a current member.

    Visitation for Richard Dake will take place from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 7 at the Heady-Radcliff Funeral Home at 311 West Jefferson St. in LaGrange. Additional visitation will take place Friday, March 8 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Ballardsville Baptist Church at 4912 South Highway 53 in Crestwood. Services will follow at the church at 11 a.m., and interment will be at the Valley of the Rest in LaGrange.

    Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to the Crusade for Children, a prominent local charity that firefighters often take collections for, Smith said. Donations may be sent in care of the LaGrange Fire and Rescue Department at 121 West Main St. in LaGrange, KY 40031.


    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2002/ky_mar5c.html

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    Police Investigate KY Firefighter's Death, Analyzing Train's Data Recorder

    Police Investigate KY Firefighter's Death, Analyzing Train's Data Recorder

    Firefighter's Death Hits Community Hard

    SHANNON DAVIDSON
    Courtesy of WAVE 3 Television, Kentucky


    LA GRANGE, Kentucky -- Flags were flying at half-staff across the city of La Grange Tuesday to honor fallen firefighter Richard Dake. His death leaves investigators wondering how something like this could have happened. Many questions surrounding this accident are still unanswered.

    Richard Dake, 48, had just finished a training exercise Monday night for the La Grange Fire Department, and was only blocks away from returning the tanker he was driving to the firehouse when he approached some train tracks. Upon crossing the tracks, he was struck by a CSX train and thrown from the fire truck. He died after being transported to University Hospital.

    Now Oldham County Police are investigating the accident to try to find out why Dake didn't see or hear the oncoming train. Investigators plan to analyze the information in the locomotive's data recorder for answers.

    "They do have the black box and it should record whether the horn was blowing, when they applied the emergency breaking system, how fast it was going, things of that nature," said Oldham County Police Officer Kevin Collett. "It's just a matter of us finding out exactly what occurred that night."

    Police say the investigation should take a couple of days to complete and will center on the CSX black box.

    In the meantime, the La Grange Fire Department will spend the next few days regrouping. A very tight-knit group of people, and they say they plan to be available to help the Dake family get through this difficult time.

    Dake worked as a corrections officer and had been part of the La Grange Fire Department since September 1999. He is survived by his wife and four children.


    http://www.firehouse.com/lodd/2002/ky_mar5a.html

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    Dake, Richard

    Age: 48
    Rank: Firefighter
    Status: Volunteer
    Incident Date: 03/04/2002
    Incident Time: 21:52
    Death Date: 03/04/2002

    Cause of Death: Struck By/Contact with Object
    Nature of Death: Internal Trauma
    Emergency Duty: No
    Duty Type: Training
    Activity Type: Driving/Operating Vehicle/Apparatus
    Fixed Prop. Use: Street/Road

    Fire Dept. Info:
    LaGrange Fire Deptartment
    121 West Main Street
    LaGrange, Kentucky 40031
    Chief: Mike Heilman

    Initial Summary:
    Firefighter Dake was participating in a training exercise. While returning to the station as the sole occupant/operator of a tanker, he attempted to cross a railroad crossing and was struck on the passenger side by a train ejecting him from the apparatus. Firefighter Dake was airlifted to the University of Louisville Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Funeral and Memorial Fund: Pending


    http://www.usfa.fema.gov/application....cfm?p_id=1257

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