A 76-year-old Silver Spring man was fatally injured yesterday when the car he was driving was struck by a D.C. Fire Department pumper truck that was responding to a reported house fire, D.C. police and fire officials reported.
They said Henry B. Johnson, of 2900 Covington Rd., died at Washington Hospital Center about four hours after the 1 p.m. incident of injuries he received in the wreck, police officials said.
Johnson, who was retired, was the only occupant of the car. The firefighter who was driving the pumper truck, John R. Favilla, received minor injuries, fire officials said.
D.C. police said the accident occurred at Military and Glover roads NW as two trucks from Engine Co. 31, located in the 4900 block of Connecticut Avenue NW, were on their way to a reported house fire in the 1600 block of Tuckerman Street NW.
The two fire trucks, with their emergency lights and sirens on, were traveling east on Military Road NW and separated by about 150 feet, police said. They said the first truck had cleared the intersection at Glover Road NW when Johnson's yellow Pinto, which was headed west on Military Road, turned left in front of the second truck.
Johnson's car was struck broadside by the second fire vehicle and knocked about 70 feet into a light post, which was severed.
He received massive chest injuries, according to a Washington Hospital Center official, and he died about 5:15 p.m.
A D.C. police traffic official said the investigation was continuing but that "we have no indication there was any fault" by the driver of the fire truck.
Fire officials said no one was injured in the Tuckerman Street NW fire, which heavily damaged the third floor, attic and roof of the house.
No additional information about the blaze was available.
Mimi Bronner, a neighbor of Johnson's in Silver Spring, said last night that he was retired as a self-employed contractor, but that he continued to provide handyman services to some of his old customers.
"I saw the man this morning and waved at him," Bronner said. "The block is sure going to be different."
She said he loved animals and that a white poodle, which belonged to his niece, was in the car with Johnson at the time of the accident. The animal was unhurt, police said, and was being held last night at an animal shelter.
Johnson also was an avid sailor and spent much of his spare time on his sailboat docked on the Potomac in the District, Bronner said.
Johnson's wife Elizabeth was in Ocean City, Md., at the time of the accident and was returning here last night, Bronner said. She said Johnson's only son is an Air Force pilot stationed in Italy.