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Watertown fire captain struck by car

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A captain and 10-year veteran with the Watertown Fire Department was struck by a car late Wednesday on Mechanic Street, where he had responded to an emergency call.

Capt. William P. Bragger, 38, of 120 Brown Blvd., Brownville, suffered a possible arm fracture, as well as cuts and bruises on his head, left hand and wrist in the 11:53 p.m. accident, according to city police. He was attended to immediately by Guilfoyle Ambulance personnel, who were apparent witnesses to the accident. He was treated at Samaritan Medical Center and discharged early Thursday.

City fire and Guilfoyle crews were dispatched at 11:29 p.m. to Midtown Towers, 142 Mechanic St., after a resident in a 10th-floor apartment was reported to have fallen. The city fire rescue truck parked on the east side of the street, while an ambulance parked directly across the road, leaving a narrow passage lane for traffic, police said. Both vehicles were facing north.

A northbound motorist, William F. Carrigan Jr., 61, of 714 S. Massey St., was making his way through the narrowed lane. Capt. Bragger, meanwhile, had placed some equipment into the rescue truck, and then started to cross the street to talk with ambulance personnel, police said.

Views by the pedestrian and the motorist were obstructed by the fire rig, police said. When Capt. Bragger stepped out from in front of the rescue truck, he went into the path of the car, and upon being struck, was thrown up against the passenger side of the car’s windshield, police said.

Watertown Fire Chief Dale C. Herman said Capt. Bragger lost consciousness “at some point,” and when interviewed at the hospital, had “fuzzy memory” about what had occurred.

No summons was issued. Police listed pedestrian error as cause of the accident.

Mr. Bragger joined the department in August 2002 and was promoted to captain in January 2010. He is enrolled in the paramedic program at Jefferson Community College, Chief Herman said, and is also a volunteer with the Brownville Fire Department.

Wednesday’s accident is the second incident in three weeks involving a city firefighter. A 28-year-old member of the rescue team collapsed Sept. 24 after responding to an auto accident on Franklin Street, and was taken to the hospital. The firefighter, not identified, returned to work after being off duty only three days, Chief Herman said.

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