AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - The driver who crashed through a firehouse in Amherst is now recovering, but there is still a gaping hole in the fire hall.
Main-Transit Firefighter Richard Chudy was doing some late night office work.
"Our building shook like an earthquake," recounted Chudy.
And he didn't have to go far for this tricky rescue.
Chudy said, "We were worrying about the structure, safety for him, for ourselves. Bricks were falling at different points."
Amherst Police say 50-year-old Mark Detlef of Buffalo smashed his vehicle into the truck bay doors of the Main-Transit Fire Station.
Amherst Police Capt. Patrick McKenna said, "It appears from what we've learned that it's intentional that he drove right into the fire hall. I think it was just there, and that's what he decided to do."
Firefighters had to be careful about rescuing the driver since the structure had been compromised by the crash.
Main-Transit Fire Chief Jon Kemp said, "It took us almost an hour. Very long extraction time for the patient because he was trapped underneath the debris."
"Broken leg, broken arm, possible internal injuries, but nothing life threatening is what I've been told. We want that car because we're going to get a search warrant for the black box, which will help us determine his speed," said Capt. McKenna.
Engineers were back at the scene trying to shore up the building while workers removed sections of sprinkler pipes to prevent flooding in case of a partial collapse.
Chief Kemp said, "We know we've got four truck bays damaged, we just don't know how severely. And then we have to check to roof."
Meanwhile, police have charged the driver with felony criminal mischief and say more charges are possible. Capt. McKenna tells News 4 that Detlef has been living in motels off and on and that he's had some involvement with another police agency.
"I'm not aware of anything extensive. I know there is domestic issues," said Capt. McKenna.
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