Firefighters escape engine before it falls off 15 Freeway; floodwaters chewing up highway


A crew of San Bernardino County firefighters escaped when their engine got caught hanging off the eroded shoulder of soutbound 15 in the Cajon Pass on Friday night, Feb. 17.

A KABC/7 video posted on Twitter later showed the fire engine falling completely from view off the roadway south of Highway 138.

Water coming down from the nearby hillsides overflowed the creek between the railroad tracks and the 15, Caltrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said. That water then eroded the shoulder before undermining the right, or No. 5 lane, and then the No. 4 lane.

The California Highway Patrol said late Friday that only the far left, or No. 1 southbound lane, was open. There was no estimate on when the lanes would reopen.

Kasinga worried that if the rain continued, erosion could eat one lane at a time.


“People just need to not go that way,” Kasinga said.

Potential detours to the east and west are problematic with other roads washed out or flooded, she said. Check Caltrans websites for road closures.

The fire engine was returning to the Devore station from working the flooding in the West Cajon area, said firefighter Eric Sherwin, a department spokesman. The engine was in the far right lane of the 15 when the roadway began to fail.

“The engineer managed to steer the engine enough into the No. 4 lane to keep it on the roadway and to get all for personnel out,” he said. “The engine was left dangling and a short time later it went completely over the side. It’s sitting in the creek right now.”

A semi truck was also being reported submerged, though details were unclear.

Contrary to what is being reported on some social media, a bridge has not collapsed in the area, a CHP spokesman said. Kasinga said someone got that confused with the shoulder crumbling.

Earlier in the day,Highway 138 in the Blue Cut fire scar was completely shut down because of rising flood…

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