FIRE chiefs are to review 999 procedures after a Huddersfield man was knocked down by an 11-tonne fire engine.
An inquest heard how Robert Senior, 38, was struck as he crossed at a zebra crossing on Lockwood Road on January 10 this year. He died days later.
Mr Senior, of Lindley, had tried to cross the road with two other people when the red man was showing.
Although the traffic lights were on green, cars had stopped before the crossing to let through the fire engine which was driving down the wrong side of the road following reports of an old woman trapped in a burning house.
The fire engine hit Mr Senior, who had autism, Kathleen Stephenson, and their carer Susan Howley. They lived at North House, a residential home for adults with learning disabilities, at Swan Lane, Lockwood.
The two women were injured, but Mr Senior suffered extensive brain injuries and died at Leeds General Infirmary on January 15.
Coroner Roger Whittaker told the inquest he was concerned skid marks showed the fire engine was travelling at 26 mph when it began braking.
He said calculations had shown if the engine was travelling at 20 mph that ‘it would have been able to stop before the accident occurred’.
Mr Whittaker said he would be writing to the chief fire officer to express concerns about the speed of fire engines approaching pedestrian crossings.
Robert’s mum Jean told the Examiner after the inquest that everyone in Lindley loved and missed Robert.
She said in a statement to the court she was initially very angry with the driver of the fire engine – but she did not want to see him go to prison for the sake of his family.
She said: “The pain of losing a child cannot be described.
“It has destroyed my family unit and has affected us all in so many ways.
“Whatever the outcome it won’t bring Robert back.
“Family is everything to me and now I’ve lost one of my boys the pain is indescribable.
“I’m living on my nerves. I must keep going for my other boys.”
Rebecca Grant was standing outside the launderette opposite the zebra crossing having a cigarette break when she saw the incident.
She told the inquest Mr Senior and his two companions had crossed the road when a red man was showing.
The driver of the fire engine, Nicholas Mulleague, said he hadn’t seen Mr Senior and his companions until they had stepped out into the crossing.
It was watch manager David Price, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, that first saw Mr Senior.
Watch manager Price told the inquest: “Basically we were only a few feet away when I saw Mr Senior looking up at the fire engine.”
He shouted to Mr Mulleague who slammed on the brakes and swerved.
Coroner Roger Whittaker said Mr Senior had died as a result of severe acute traumatic brain injuries.
He said Mr Senior died “as he crossed Lockwood Road in Huddersfield at a pedestrian crossing when the lights were against him and was struck by a fire engine responding to an emergency call at that point driving on the wrong side of the road.”
After the inquest, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Steve Beckley said “This was a tragic accident and our thoughts remain with the family of the deceased and for the crew who did everything possible to assist and give first aid at the scene.
“The crew were shaken at the incident and are deeply saddened by the fatality.
“After this inquest and as with every serious incident we strive to learn from an accident and we will continue to ensure our drivers remain ever vigilant to the dangers on our roads”.