Two firefighters were struck by minivan while tending to minor-injury vehicle accident early Wednesday morning, March 29. | Credit: Scott Safechuck / Santa Barbara County Fire Department

[Update] Wed. March 29, 2:45 p.m: According to CalTrans District 5, the southbound HWY 101 is reopened near Avenue of the Flags as of 12:30 p.m. 

Santa Barbara County Fire spokesperson Captain Scott Safechuck also provided updates on the two firefighters injured in the accident. One of the injured men, an engineer, has been released from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. The other, a fire chief, has been moved to the intensive care unit where he is in serious but stable condition. “Thank you for all the support for our brothers,” Safechuck said.  

The cause of the accident is under investigation with California Highway Patrol.

The southbound Highway 101 is closed at the base of Nojoqui Grade near Gaviota after two firefighters were struck by a minivan on the freeway early Wednesday morning, according to Caltrans officials.

The two firefighters were hit by the van around 5:20 a.m. while responding to a minor-injury crash, according to Santa Barbara County Fire spokesperson Scott Safechuck. The two firefighters — a captain and an engineer — were airlifted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with major injuries, according to Safechuck, and were awake and talking as of around 8 a.m.

A total of eight patients were taken to the hospital: Another patient with minor to moderate injuries was also taken to Cottage Hospital, and five others were transported to Marian Medical in Santa Maria with minor injuries.

Both sides of the freeway were closed to allow a helicopter to land. The northbound 101 closed north of Mariposa Reina but reopened to traffic shortly after 7 a.m. One lane of the southbound 101 is expected to reopen in two to three hours, Caltrans reported around 8:40 a.m. In the meantime, travelers can take Highway 154 as an alternate route.

This is a developing story. Check back for additional details as they become available.


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