While responding to a crash on the rainy 15 Freeway in Ontario Thursday morning, four firefighters were injured after a second collision nearby caused vehicles to skid directly into them, authorities said.
The firefighters were treating patients from the initial collision – on the northbound Freeway near the 10 Freeway – when the second crash occurred, sending vehicles "into our scene," Mike Gerken of the Ontario Fire Department said.
Two of the injured firefighters were treated on the scene, and another two were transferred to a hospital with moderate injuries, the city of Ontario said in a Facebook post.
The two less-injured firefighters had seen the vehicles headed for them and were able to jump over the center median, fire Deputy Chief Mike Pelletier said. They had only "very minor" injuries, he said.
The other two weren't able to get out of the way and were hit by one of the cars. Both have been released after being treated at a local hospital, Pelletier said.
"They were very lucky," he added.
The initial collision occurred about 9:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol's incident log. About 20 minutes later, the log stated that a fire engine was struck, and that firefighters were injured.
At least four sedans involved in the collision were seen at the scene, in the left-hand shoulder and No. 1 lane. One car's side was caved in, and another's bumper was hanging off. Broken pieces of glass and metal covered the wet pavement.
It's not known how many civilians were hurt, if any.
The collisions happened as a strong rain storm traveled through Southern California Thursday, prompting traffic gridlock, road closures and mudslide and flash flood warnings.