The accident occurred at 2:15 p.m. at the intersection of 31st Avenue and 42nd Street, the official said. The engine from Ladder Co. 163 was heading west on 31st Avenue toward an all-hands fire at 30-07 31st Ave.
"I heard a big explosive sound," said Sophia Z., who declined to give her last name. The manager of Akros European Designer Brands located at the intersection continued, "I turn around and I see the whole bumper of the car on the ground and smoke."
The passengers, who were later taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition with minor injuries, climbed out of the van and ran away, apparently fearful that the smoking vehicle would explode, Sophia said.
"I guess they got scared and they started running out," she said. "One of the girls was like bleeding in the face."
Fire officials declined to give the name of the passengers and no firemen were hurt.
Firemen briefly closed traffic through the intersection while the vehicle was towed and workers swept debris from the street.
The 31st Avenue fire, to which 12 units and 60 firefighters responded, was brought under control with no injuries, the official said.
©2004 Community News Group
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