CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. -
A Clayton County road reopened late Wednesday afternoon as investigators looked into a serious crash involving a fire truck.
Three sisters and three firefighters were hurt.
Investigators told Channel 2’s Liz Artz at the scene that 6-year-old Akhirah Muhammad who was airlifted to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.
“The youngest girl, the one that was 6, was in cardiac arrest as soon as she got out," witness Alan Ramirez told Artz.
Witnesses said the child was not breathing and was revived by the firefighters who were inside the truck they collided with.
"I just see them carrying this little girl. They put her right there in the grass and they’re just trying to, you know… she wasn't breathing," said witness Jazmine Dominquez.
Investigators said Akhirah was not in a booster seat inside the car, and had only a seat belt on in the front passenger side of the car.
An 18-year firefighting veteran Lt. David Leply, Sgt. Christopher Stripling and firefighter Jamal Daniel were aboard the ladder truck when Georgia State Patrol said a black Mercedes driven by an 18-year-old girl ran a red light on Upper Riverdale Road and collided with the massive truck.
"It was really sad. It’s really sad because she’s so young," Dominquez said.
The Clayton County fire chief told Artz his firefighters worked to bring the little girl back to life. He said he's amazed no one died in the accident.
"It's a testament to the medical care they were provided and, you know, the fact that somebody was watching over them,” said Clayton County Fire Chief Landry Merkison.
Investigators say there were three sisters in the Mercedes, the driver, Safiyyah Muhammad, 18, and sister Maryam Muhammad, 10, also suffered moderate injuries.
Akhirah remains in critical condition.
"Thank God she’s OK right now, but it was possible she could have lost her life," Dominquez said.
"I couldn't be more proud of how they reacted," Merkison said about his firefighters.
Merkison told Channel 2’s Aaron Diamant that he gives nothing but praise for how the firefighters jumped right into action despite just being in a wreck.
"Their injuries became secondary at that point, it's let's make sure these patients are taken care of and then we're worry about ourselves," Merkison said.
Merkison credit’s the men’s instincts and training for keeping the 6-year-old alive while they tended to the driver and the 10-year-old who had less serious injuries.
"That urge that makes you want to do this job to begin with kicks in and says we got to go help, and that's what they did," Merkison said.
The chief told Diamant the firefighters’ injuries are minor and their thoughts, along with the department’s, remain focused on the three girls and their family.
"This really brings it close to home and really makes it hit a little bit harder," Merkison said.
The Clayton County Fire Department said charges are pending following the investigation in this crash.
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