• Firefighter will 'never forget' scene after Billerica auto auction crash


    BILLERICA, Mass. - Two victims remain in critical condition at Lahey Hospital Thursday night as police continue investigating what caused a Jeep Cherokee to speed through an auto auction Wednesday. 

    Capt Bill Paskiewicz  was assigned to a fire detail for Lynnway Auto Auction Wednesday, a shift he's worked numerous times. It's standard for the weekly auto auctions, which attract hundreds of people. 

    "It started out just like any other day," he told Boston 25 News. 

    But at 10:15, chaos broke out. Three people were killed and several were injured when something caused the driver of the Jeep to speed through the auction Wednesday morning, eventually crashing into a cement wall. 

    He said when he heard the bang of the Jeep hitting the building wall, he began forcing his way through the crowds of running people.

    "At first, we weren't a hundred percent sure what happened, people were yelling there was a car accident and as we ran over, we knew that there were numerous injuries, severe injuries," said Paskiewicz.

    When he finally got to the scene, he says it was something he won't ever forget.

    "We've all seen bad things and we've all had bad calls...To me, that's a very unique call, sometimes you only see that maybe once in your career," said Paskiewicz. 

    He radioed for help, and then began triaging; the number of people wounded was overwhelming and he knew that he and the four officers on detail weren't going to be able to help everybody. Fortunately, people in the crowd stepped forward. 

    "There was an off duty, or retired nurse that was there, there was a retired firefighter that was there that assisted patients until we could get enough help to come and treat them," said Paskiewicz

    Within 40 minutes, all the victims were being treated at area hospitals. 

    District Attorney Marian Ryan said the investigation into what happened will be lengthy.

    Lynnway Auto Auction released a statement Thursday afternoon, saying it was "shocked and saddened at yesterday's events. We will continue to hold the victims and their families in our prayers."

    Our Lynnway community is a close group. Many of the auto dealers who attend our weekly auctions have done so for years and all of us feel the impact of this tragedy.  While investigators work to understand what happened and why, we intend to support those impacted by donating a portion of the proceeds from yesterday's auction and next Wednesday's auction to those families.  Details will be forthcoming.
    Over the course of 20 years, safety has been a top priority at Lynnway's auctions.  The emergency response yesterday was rapid and more effective because there were seven first responders on the scene before the accident  paid police and firefighter details from local departments whom we hire for every auction. Additionally, we hire a number of personnel to monitor activities at the auction to assist with safety measures, clearing lanes, etc. This coming Wednesday we will increase the first responder details and the civilian safety team.   We also plan to meet with the drivers to reinforce safety practices and make sure that an overabundance of caution is maintained at all times.
    Also, we will be installing barriers, or "bollards" to help keep vehicles from veering out of their intended lane.  Sturdy, vertical posts, bollards are frequently used on highways to control road traffic and will provide additional protection for our patrons and everyone working at the auction.


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