REDDING, Calif. — A city of Redding firetruck and a motorcycle collided Tuesday in front of Fire Station 4 on South Bonnyview Road.
Some drivers passing the 10 a.m. accident may have seen the U.S. Forest Service's fire-safety mascot, Smokey Bear, sprawled on the ground next to the wrecked motorcycle.
But his partners assured the public he was just lying down to take a breather after "assisting" in the wreck investigation.
Smokey was with a group of firefighters from various agencies on their way to local schools to teach fire prevention and safety to youngsters when the rig pulled out of the station and collided with a motorcyclist.
Smokey is just fine, said Battalion Chief Howard Fincher, fire marshal for the Anderson Fire Protection District.
"Smokey and Sparky were assisting in an emergency," Fincher said about the fire agencies' two mascots.
It turns out Smokey wasn't even aboard the truck during the wreck.
Instead, Smokey was following behind the truck in a van. The woman in the suit quickly took it off and helped direct traffic, still wearing her fuzzy Smokey Bear feet.
It wasn't clear Tuesday who was at fault in the wreck.
The motorcyclist received minor injuries and was taken to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, police said.
The fire prevention and safety contingent is made up of firefighters from the Redding and Anderson fire departments, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection District and the U.S. Forest Service.
They have visited 21 schools this year and taught fire-safety tips such as "stop, drop and roll" to more than 3,500 north state children, Fincher said.
Redding police said the California Highway Patrol would lead the crash investigation because a city of Redding vehicle was involved.
The identities of the motorcyclist and the person driving the firetruck weren't released Tuesday. A message left with the CHP wasn't returned Tuesday afternoon.
Original Source: By Ryan Sabalow The Record Searchlight