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A 32-year decorated officer of the Buffalo Fire Department was in serious condition in Erie County Medical Center today after a fire truck ran over his foot late Monday.

Lt. Joseph Ziemba, 58, of Depew suffered a compound fracture to his right foot during the 10:56 p.m. call for an odor of natural gas at 38 Memorial Drive.

Ziemba remained conscious after the accident, Keane said. He was immediately rushed from the scene to the medical center.

"(Ziemba) sits in the passenger seat of the fire truck," said Buffalo Fire Commissioner Cornelius J. Keane. "When he exited the truck, he ordered the driver to pull in closer to the curb, and his foot got run over. It appears to be a very serious injury."

The truck was a 75-foot hook-and-ladder engine weighing about 35 tons, fire officials said.

Keane said he was unsure who was operating the truck at the time of the accident. He said that each member of the department is "very experienced," adding that Ziemba's firefighting team, stationed at Ladder 11, has worked together for several years.

"It's a horrible accident, and stuff like this happens. Fire scenes are very dangerous. Thank goodness they don't happen that often," Keane said.

"(Ziemba) has been around the department a long time, and he's one of our most decorated veterans."

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