MERRIMACK, NH — Merrimack Fire Department and New Hampshire State Police received multiple calls for brushfires in more than a dozen locations on the F.E. Everett Turnpike on November 12, 2023.
All the reported fires were in the southbound lane, from Bedford to Nashua, and appeared to be started by a malfunctioning truck.
With blustery winds, the fires began to spread, so additional mutual aid was brought to the scene and for station coverage from Bedford, Amherst, and Nashua. State police and NH DOT closed the right travel lane so that firefighters could work on extinguishing the fires. Personnel used water in the engines, and tankers, and made trips off the turnpike to refill water tanks.
After about two hours, most of the fires were extinguished, and another incident involving Merrimack Engine 5 occurred.
The engine had just refilled the water tank and was taking the Exit 12 offramp, turning onto Bedford Road. While the engine was making the turn, a passenger car that was traveling East failed to stop and crashed into the side of the apparatus.
The engine driver was the only fire personnel in the engine and quickly realized the vehicle had five occupants and it had caught on fire. The sole firefighter removed four children and an adult from the vehicle and then stretched a hose line. The vehicle fire was extinguished and medical attention began on all vehicle occupants.
Two ambulances and additional engines were dispatched to the scene and Bedford Road was closed and traffic backed up onto the turnpike. All occupants of the vehicle had minor injuries and it appears they all refused to be transported to the hospital by the ambulances.
At this time, the roads have reopened that were closed due to the accident and all brush fires on the turnpike are currently extinguished.
State police over the radio indicated a person called them with a description of the truck and followed it down the turnpike into Massachusetts.
©Jeffrey Hastings
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