OAKLAND -- A firefighter suffered life-threatening injuries Tuesday morning after a fire rig crashed on a taxiway at Oakland International Airport during a training exercise, authorities said.

The wreck took place just before 11:45 a.m. during a simulated red alert drill to test emergency response time to incidents at the airport, said Sean Maher, spokesman for Mayor Jean Quan.

The Oakland firefighter was driving an Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting rig -- a vehicle equipped to carry 3,000 gallons of water and 420 gallons of foam -- when the vehicle rolled during a turn in front of the Oakland Maintenance Center, formerly the United Airlines Hangar.

According to KGO-7, the firefighter was identified late Tuesday as 55-year-old Mitchell Ow, a 28-year veteran of the Oakland Fire Department assigned to the airport. Ow was not thrown from the vehicle, but sustained major injuries. The firefighter was the sole occupant on the rig and was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

No other injuries were reported.

The wreck closed the small taxiway but did not affect any flights or other property on the grounds, an airport spokesman said.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol assisted the Oakland Fire Department with the investigation. Two large tow trucks were also sent to the scene.


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Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.


A fire truck lies on its side at the Oakland Internationl Airport on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. An Oakland firefighter was seriously
A fire truck lies on its side at the Oakland Internationl Airport on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, in Oakland, Calif. An Oakland firefighter was seriously injured in the accident. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) ( ARIC CRABB )