California Apparatus Collision Results in $15 Million Settlement

A 53-year-old California man who was severely injured when two fire trucks collided as he was waiting to cross the street, has agreed to settle his claims for $15 million.

Kenneth Thai was waiting to cross the street on April 16, 2014 when a ladder truck from the Alhambra Fire Department collided with an engine from the Monterey Park Fire Department, causing the engine to strike Thai and continue into a restaurant. Both units were responding to a house fire in Monterey Park.

Fifteen people were injured in the accident, including six firefighters, five restaurant patrons and four pedestrians. Thai’s injures were the most severe and resulted in the loss of his right leg, numerous fractures, internal injuries and lacerations.

An investigation by the California Highway Patrol concluded the accident was the fault of the Alhambra unit, but that conclusion has been disputed.

The Pasadena-Star News quoted Thai as saying in a court declaration:

  • “Prior to this incident, I was healthy and had no physical limitations.”
  • “I spent weeks in the hospital and lost my right leg above the knee.”
  • “I have spent the last 15 months in near constant contact with physicians, surgeons, therapists, psychologists, prosthetic consultants and other medical professionals in order to address my injuries and limitations.”

The settlement will be funded by both cities and their insurers.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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