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Surely that fire engine shouldn’t be parked there?!

There was some unaccustomed excitement on my way home from work yesterday. I was driving home as normal in the afternoon, but when I got to the top of the hill, at British Camp, there was a police car parked across the road, blue lights flashing, barring my way. There was a very cold and bored-looking policeman standing outside his car, directing traffic away from the main road, along the back of the hills. I didn’t want to follow the diversion, as I was just minutes away from home at that point, so I pulled into the big car park and went over to find out what had happened. Fortunately, at the same time, one of the staff from the hotel opposite came out with a cup of coffee for the policeman, who relaxed somewhat and was clearly happy to have a bit of a chat.

It appeared that there had been an “incident” just a hundred metres uphill from my house! A fire engine, on a blue light call, had been dashing down the hill and must have been going too fast for the conditions. There’s a bend that’s rather dangerous at the best of times, and the fire engine appeared to have clipped the curb, the driver over-compensated, swung across the road, hit a tree, and clipped a car coming in the other direction! The fire engine then ended up perpendicularly across the road, blocking both lanes, and closing the road for several hours while they worked out how to recover it.

Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured, though the couple in the car were horribly shocked – unsurprisingly. The policeman did say though that the driver of the fire engine would have to buy a very large amount of doughnuts, and would undoubtedly never be allowed to forget it!

With the permission of the friendly copper, I left my car at the car-park, and walked past the cordon down the hill towards the house. It was actually a much pleasanter walk than usual – it often feels quite dangerous walking there, particularly at dusk, as cars speed round the corner and aren’t alert for walkers. But with the road closed to traffic, it was quite a nice walk home! By the time I’d made myself a cup of tea, the fire engine had been towed away and the road was reopened to traffic. So I walked back up the hill, picked up my car from the car park and drove it home.

I noticed this morning on the way in to work that there’s still some deep gouges in the bank at the side of the road, the tree that was hit is looking very sorry for itself, and there’s lots of paint marks on the road that are no doubt part of the forensic investigation into what happened. I do wonder what happened to the call that the fire engine was originally on its way to in such a hurry – I do hope that another vehicle was dispatched promptly!