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3 FIREFIGHTERS INJURED IN AMBULANCE COLLISION

Three members of the Orchard Park Fire Company were injured Tuesday, one seriously, when their ambulance collided with a minivan on Route 20A, Orchard Park police said.

The crash occurred on East Quaker Street at Baker Road just after 5 p.m., as Medic One, the fire company's emergency vehicle, driven by Anthony Scolese, 31, of Orchard Park, was responding to a first-aid call for an asthma case on Quaker Lake Terrace.

Another member of the fire company, Joseph Rizzo, 33, was listed in serious condition in Erie County Medical Center today with what authorities said were head and neck injuries. Scolese and another fire company member, Mark Gorski, 21, were treated in ECMC and released.

Police said the vehicles, both eastbound, collided when the ambulance, which had activated its siren and flashing lights, attempted to pass the minivan, driven by Molly Dwyer, 19, of Orchard Park, which was turning left onto Baker Road.

The minivan struck the side of the fire vehicle, causing it to roll over several times, Orchard Park Police Lt. Bruce Dearborn said.

Dwyer was taken by Orchard Park fire personnel to Mercy Hospital with minor injuries, police said.

Rescue crews from Rural/Metro Ambulance Service also assisted at the scene.

Dearborn said crashes with emergency vehicles, although not uncommon, are avoidable.

"People just need to be more aware. If you hear the sirens and see the lights, at a minimum you should be slowing down and prepared to be pulling to the right side of the road," he said.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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