Firefighters still hospitalized after deadly crash - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Firefighters still hospitalized after deadly crash

(WMC-TV) – Two volunteer firefighters are recovering in the hospital after a deadly crash Monday night on Interstate-40 in Fayette County. The men were putting out a grass fire when a massive crash happened right next to them.

Mark Kleinwachter, the driver of the pick-up truck that ran into the volunteer firefighter's truck, died on scene. His wife Barbara has been released from the Med.

Three firefighters were hurt. One was released from the hospital Monday night.

"I think everybody still is looking at it and saying that it's surreal that even happened," said Hunter Winfrey, chief of the Braden Volunteer Fire Department Chief.

Winfrey has worked with the department for 30 years and said wrecks on the interstate are common calls.

"We've made fatalities," he said. "We've made some very serious accidents, but when it's one of your own it's a very different creature."

Capt. Mack Green and firefighter Josh Fair were both injured while on duty on I-40.

They were fighting a grass fire on the median Monday afternoon when a pick-up truck slammed into the back of their fire engine.

The fire truck that was on the interstate was a large pumper truck.

The chief said typically the department's brush truck would have responded to a grass fire on the interstate. However, it's temporarily out of service for repair.

The chief said if it had been out there it would have provided less protection and he believes his two firefighters would have been killed.

Instead, Green has a punctured lung, four fractured ribs and a hematoma. The 6-foot-6-inch, 430 pound man is a 15-year department veteran and has twice named firefighter of the year.

Fair broke his right leg, hip and ankle. His injuries will require surgery.

The eight-year department veteran has a wife and two-year-old daughter.

Green and Fair have been upgraded to good condition at the Med and are expected to survive their injuries.

"Everybody's trying to get some rest," said Winfrey. "That's one of the big things. They've had a lot of people come visit, all those good things. We're just trying to get them on the road to recovery."

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