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Fire Engine Hits Car, Killing Woman, 69

April 21, 1996| From a Times staff writer

A Los Angeles fire engine racing to a Westside blaze Saturday smashed into the driver's side of an oncoming car, killing the 69-year-old female driver, authorities said.

The fire engine, traveling west on 3rd Street just before noon to a fire in the Hotel Nikko's basement, was held up in traffic as it approached Orlando Avenue and crossed the center divider, moving into the oncoming traffic lane, said city fire spokesman Brian Humphrey.

Although the engine had its lights and siren activated, Humphrey said, the woman was attempting a left turn in front of it when it struck her car.

"Apparently she thought that oncoming traffic had stopped for her to make her turn," Humphrey said.

The collision pinned the woman, whose name was not released, in her compact car. She was extricated by the Jaws of Life and transported in critical condition to Ceders-Sinai Medical Center, where she died a few hours later.

"All of our operations have the potential for being dangerous," Humphrey said. "The fact that this doesn't happen more often is amazing."

Humphrey said the engine's speed was not thought to be a factor in the accident, but added that an investigation is underway.

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