Billerica Fire Captain recalls the deadly auto auction crash

Three people were killed in the crash, many others were injured

This still image from video provided by NBC Boston shows wreckage after a vehicle suddenly accelerated at an auto auction and struck several people before it crashed through a wall of the building, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, in Billerica, Mass. (NBC Boston via AP)

(CNN/WVB) – “I was about three lanes over when this happened.” Billerica Fire Captain Bill Paskiewicz was making his rounds on a detail Wednesday at the Lynnway Auto Auctions when chaos erupted. “I heard a loud bang. There was several hundred people running.”

Running because an SUV suddenly accelerated through the crowd of potential buyers during an auction. The Jeep Grand Cherokee went the length of a football field, before crashing through a concrete wall.

“I came around the corner and saw numerous people that were severely injured.” Captain Paskiewicz and the three police officers on detail with him jumped into action. “We’re trained, you block out what you see, and you just do your job.”

While police began medical treatment, Captain Paskiewicz instantly had to assess potential dangers for everyone there, and coordinate the response. “Minor hazmat with fluids leaking. We had building integrity that was impacted by the car.  We had the car still in gear and running.”

It’s the worst incident he’s seen in his 24 year career. One aspect that sticks out to him, witnesses pulling out their cell phones so quickly. “It’s sad the world we live in, so many people taking pictures and videos with cell phones. That’s the world we live in today.”

However, the Captain said several civilians stepped forward to help out. He assigned them to stay with each of the injured before additional first responders could get on scene. “There’s still a lot of good in the world.”