Two firefighters injured in ambulance accident in south Birch Bay

Published on Wed, Feb 8, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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An accident in south Birch Bay last week sent three people, two of them from Blaine, to the hospital and totaled a North Whatcom Fire and Rescue (NWFR) ambulance.

At about 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 1, Blaine resident Timothy Howe, 56, was driving south on Kickerville Road in his 2005 Ford Edge when he ran a stop sign and struck a NWFR ambulance traveling west on Bay Road, according to the Washington State Patrol. The force from the impact spun the ambulance, which ended up on its side in a nearby ditch.

Howe was transported to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center for injuries suffered in the crash. He was in serious condition on arrival, but released a few days later, said Mark Stoner, nursing supervisor at St. Joseph Medical Center. 

The two firefighters, 37-year-old Anthony Esser, who was driving the ambulance, and passenger 30-year-old Joel Sellinger of Blaine, were also injured and transported to St. Joseph Medical Center. They were treated and released. The ambulance was returning from a call in Birch Bay and was not carrying anyone.

 “We were lucky,” NWFR assistant chief Henry Hollander said.

The ambulance was totaled and was one of three new rigs NWFR recently bought, Hollander said. Ambulances cost between $140,000 and $150,000, and NWFR’s insurance company will work with Howe’s insurance agent to negotiate a reimbursement amount. To ensure coverage, a back-up ambulance will be transferred to the fire station on Odell Road in Blaine.

Alcohol or drugs are not considered a factor in the accident according to Washington State Patrol, but Howe will be cited for failure to stop. Everyone involved was wearing seat belts.