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Chief: Tractor-trailer rear-ends fire truck

Wednesday - 1/30/2013, 4:37pm  ET

fire truck tractor trailer crash (Courtesy of Marc Bashoor )
Here's what the scene looked like. (Courtesy of Prince George's Co. Fire Chief Marc Bashoor )
  • Gallery: (5 images)

Colleen Kelleher, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Drivers on the Capital Beltway encountered severe delays Wednesday morning after a crash involving a fire truck and a tractor-trailer on the Inner Loop and a secondary accident on the Outer Loop.

The tractor-trailer rear-ended a Prince George's County fire truck on the Inner Loop south of U.S. 50, forcing the interstate to shut down and sending seven people -- including four West Lanham, Md., firefighters -- to the hospital, Prince George's Fire and EMS Chief Marc Bashoor said.

Sources say the fire truck attempted to make a U-turn from the left lane, but didn't give drivers enough time to stop.

"A tractor-tractor on the Inner Loop apparently rear-ended the fire truck. The tractor-trailer and the fire truck both overturned," Bashoor told WTOP at the scene.

Both then hit the retaining wall.

"An SUV on the Outer Loop also overturned. It was part of the secondary part to the accident," Bashoor said.

Initially, the 2:45 a.m. Inner Loop crash closed both loops of the Beltway.

As of 12:40 p.m., all lanes of the Outer Loop were open. Two left lanes on the Inner Loop remained blocked.

Prince George's County Fire and EMS transported the four West Lanham firefighters to hospitals. Three of the firefighters have been treated and released from Prince George's Hospital Center. The fourth firefighter remains in surgery at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.

Bashoor says at the time of the crash, the fire truck was in service and was returning to the fire station.

Bashoor says the injuries of the tractor-trailer driver and two people in the SUV were not as severe.

"The tractor-trailer we believe is carrying food," Bashoor says.

The crash is being investigated jointly by the Prince George's County Police Department and Maryland State Police.

Bashoor says the service to the West Lanham area will not be affected. Other firefighters and reserve apparatus will be used.

WTOP's Neal Augenstein contributed to this report. Follow @AugensteinWTOP, @WTOPTraffic and @WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)