Alexandria, Virginia officials confirm a paramedic is in critical condition at the Washington Hospital Center Medstar unit after falling off an I-395 Bridge in the Shirlington area while on a car fire. The Washington Post and Fox5/WTTG-TV identify the medic as 33-year-old Joshua Weissman. He is a seven-year member of the Alexandria Fire Department. News reports indicate the medic was in cardiac arrest when pulled from Four Mile Run creek. The circumstances of the fall are still being investigated.
ARLnow.com has posted this explanation of what happened that is illustrated by an image of the highway from Google Maps (ARLnow.com also has the traffic-cam image below of the car fire showing the relationship to this part of the roadway)::
Just before 6:30 p.m. emergency crews were called to I-395 near Shirlington Circle for two separate incidents: a three-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes and a vehicle fire in the HOV lanes, according to Virginia State Police
An Alexandria paramedic responding to the call stopped in the northbound lanes, alongside the HOV lanes, in an effort to reach the burning vehicle. We’re told the paramedic somehow fell through a small gap between the guardrails, between the northbound lanes and the HOV lanes, and landed in the creek.
The incident happened after emergency crews from Alexandria and Arlington arrived to the HOV lanes of I-395 in Shirlington. For an unknown reason the responder lost consciousness and fell into Four Mile Run creek shortly before 6:30 p.m., said Dustin Sternbeck, an Arlington Police spokesman. CPR was administered at the scene, but it was not immediately clear what the responder’s condition is or how he was being taken to a hospital.
According to Virginia State Police, at 6:26 p.m., they received calls of two separate incidents at I-395 at Exit 6/Shirlington Circle. The incidents took place at the City of Alexandria and Arlington County line. One call involved a three-vehicle crash in the northbound lanes of I-395. Another call involved a vehicle fire in the HOV lane – which was open to southbound traffic at the time.
Alexandria Fire and EMS responded to the scene of the vehicle fire. Their ambulance stopped in the northbound lanes of I-395 next to the HOV lane to reach the burning vehicle. While responding to the fire, one of the paramedics fell off the roadway and into Four Mile Run Creek, which runs underneath the interstate and is approximately 20 feet below it.
The paramedic was among crews responding to a car fire and a crash that had been reported on 395 around 6 p.m. As first responders came to the scene on both the north and southbound lanes, one responder apparently fell off an overpass into Four Mile Run.
He is in critical condition.
The victim has been taken to a hospital. It is not clear whether the medic fell as a result of the car fire or because of a medical condition.
Crews are still trying to figure out what happened.