After nearly a month of treatment, a volunteer firefighter who nearly lost his arm in a three-vehicle collision Jan. 30 on the Capital Beltway was released from the hospital this week, according to Prince George’s fire/EMS officials.
Lt. Ryan Emmons, 30, of the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department was severely injured after the fire engine he was riding in was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer when the fire engine was attempting to make a U-turn using an emergency access road.
Both vehicles from the southbound lanes were sent through the median and went into the northbound lanes, where a SUV was also struck, officials said.
Seven people were injured, including four firefighters, though Emmons was the only person severely injured, officials said.
Mark Brady, chief spokesman for the county’s fire/EMS department, said Emmons’ arm was severed in the crash and he was taken to the Curtis National Hand Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore to have it reattached.
“Since his arrival at the specialty trauma center, Ryan underwent numerous surgeries and skin grafts to repair his arm,” Brady said. “Fire service tradition had Ryan riding on a West Lanham Hills piece of apparatus back to the station to finish the call.”
Returning to a firefighter’s station immediately after being released from a hospital to ceremoniously “finish the call” is a long-standing tradition for the fire department, fire officials have said.
The West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department set up a webpage to solicit donations to assist Emmons.
“I, along with my doctors, are making plans for me to leave in just a couple days,” Emmons posted a message on the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department website prior to being discharged from the hospital. “Thanks for all of your support, messages and letters. Thank you to all those fire departments out there who came to visit, wrote me letters, sent me patches or T-shirts or called.”
After the incident, Prince George’s police preliminarily determined that the tractor-trailer was the “favored vehicle,” meaning the tractor-trailer was not at fault for the collision despite rear-ending the fire engine.
At the time, police spokesman Lt. Bill Alexander said the full investigation to determine an exact cause of the collision could take weeks to conclude given the size of vehicles involved and number of those injured.
Officer Nicole Hubbard, a county police spokeswoman, said there were no updates to the investigation as of Wednesday.