Connecticut State Police

Fire Lieutenant Seriously Injured in Hebron Crash

A fire lieutenant is in serous condition after getting into a crash in Hebron while driving to his fire station after being dispatched for a fire on Monday night.

Firefighters said Hebron Fire Lieutenant Eric Saunders crashed into a tree on Wall Street while he was driving to his fire station around 11:20 p.m. He had been dispatched as mutual aid to Lebanon to assist with a structure fire.

Another fire department member came upon the crash and immediately radioed for help, authorities said.

When crews arrived, Lt. Saunders was unconscious and required extrication and advanced life support, according to firefighters. He was transported to Hartford Hospital, where he underwent surgery.

Lt. Saunders remains in serious condition, fire officials added.

Tolland county’s centralized dispatch system determines which responding agency or volunteer fire department is called to an emergency situation.

According to Hebron’s deputy chief, three departments responded to the structure fire in Lebanon last night.

“It’s up to the department to determine what they send, so normally, for a mutually-aid response because we don’t have ample amount of personnel, we take what we can get and they’ll respond with the apparatus that they’re assigned to," explained Dan Huppe, deputy chief of the Hebron Volunteer Fire Department.

Lebanon’s Deputy Fire Chief Mark Elliot said it’s imperative for rural and volunteer fire departments to seek help from nearby towns in emergency situations.

“We need to get sometimes significant numbers of manpower and equipment on scene and it might be beyond what we’re able to provide at any given time," Elliott said.

Saunders was driving his own pickup when he was en route to the fire.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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