Jason Burns, the president of the Fall River Firefighters Union, said the crash and following fire at the Four Winds Apartment Complex on New Year's Day was a recipe for disaster.
"We often have cars that go into buildings. This one happened to sever a main gas line, so it was a gas-fed fire," Burns said. "It was a holiday. You had 85 people to get out of the building. I think it wore guys thin because they kept having to come up with a new plan."
When fire broke out that Tuesday morning, Burns was not at work. At home with his family, he got word of the incident and turned on his scanner.
"Just intensity and chaos," he said. "You could hear it in their [firefighters] voices. You just know."
Burns said he expected to see smoke billowing into the sky on his drive to the scene. Instead, he said he did not see flames until he arrived at the apartment complex. He called the scene "pretty chaotic."