AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) - Architects and engineers were at the Main and Transit Fire Hall Monday morning, to figure out what to do with the building after a car smashed into it overnight.
At 12:38 a.m. firefighters were called to an injury accident and they didn't have to go anywhere to get to the scene. A firefighter who was inside the fire house at the time of the crash said it felt like an earthquake.
Police say, 50-year-old Mark Detlef intentionally drove off Main Street, jumped the curb and drove straight through the glass doors of the fire hall. Sources tell News 4's Melissa Holmes that it stemmed from a domestic dispute at home.
"The individual driver was losing consciousness when we were getting him out of the car last night and then at the end he did start to talk, and he did mention something about being apologetic about the building," Fire Chief John Kemp said. "I wish he would have picked another location, this didn't make our life any easier but it is what it is."
Kemp said pulling Detlef from his mangled 1999 Buick was a painstakingly delicate process, for all involved.
"We're trying to cut the patient out of the car so we're focused on him, we don't know what the building conditions are but obviously you can see out of the steel that's bent up, we don't know what's going to happen. We're trying to be very selective on what we moved, and what we cut and still get the patients out, " said Kemp.
Three of the department's six trucks were damaged, but they're still able to respond to calls and serve the community.
"We're fully operational. We have other vehicles, and back-up vehicles, other departments have already called and offered their assistance and storage so we're in good shape, we just stubbed our toe here for a day or so," said Kemp.
Now as a high lift supports the front of the building, inspectors, architects and other officials are assessing the damage. It may be months before the building is fixed and it may be hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The driver suffered a broken ankle.
Amherst Police have charged 50-year-old Mark Detlef with criminal mischief, a D felony, saying he intentionally careened his car into the building around 12:30 a.m. Monday.
He has also been charged with moving from a lane unsafely, a vehicle and traffic violation. Amherst Police say more traffic charges are pending, including one regarding his speed. They say, it may have been an excess of 50 mph.
Amherst Police say they are getting a search warrant for the black box in the car, to get more information about the crash. They do not believe alcohol was a factor.
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