Updated: Tuesday, 28 Jul 2009, 9:28 AM CDT
Published : Monday, 27 Jul 2009, 9:31 PM CDT
GREEN BAY - March 12, 1990 is a day Dan Lauder will never forget.
"It was pea soup thick for one minute and five minutes later it was blue skies," Lauder told FOX 11. Lauder was driving to work over the Tower Drive bridge that foggy morning.
"When you were coming up to the bridge it was just a wall of fog," Lauder recalled. "You never thought it was gonna be that bad once you got into it. But once you got into it you couldn't see 10 or 15 feet."
Lauder's truck was one of the 52 vehicles involved in the pile-up. Three people died and more than 30 were injured in the crash and ensuing explosions. Lauder said he learned a lot from the experience.
"I don't know, just how lucky we were and how good the emergency crews were just to get there in that time," he said.
One problem firefighters had back in 1990 was getting water up to the fire on the bridge. Nineteen years later, firefighters put the lessons they learned into practice.
"They have a ladder truck with a big ladder stage on the street
below underneath the bridge," said
Lt. Nick Craig from the Green Bay Fire Department. Craig said the ladder truck hooks up to a fire hydrant and the water is pumped up to the ladder to the bridge.
"Basically making it a fire hydrant type connection right there on top of the bridge," Craig said. He added that crews could not have put the fire out as quickly as they did without the water from the ladder truck.
"I can't believe how far down that is that they can pump or how ever they do it but that's impressive, very impressive," Lauder said. He also said he's pleased to hear emergency crews learned from the accident he was in. But he was also impressed 19 years ago.
"I think they did a wonderful job for what they had to work with and what they could do," Lauder said.
Since that accident in 1990, the fire department has used the ladder trucks to get water to the bridge a few other times. There are hydrants on the street below the bridge on both sides of the river. That way crews can quickly get water anywhere on the bridge.