Thursday, August 16, 2001

Accident mobilizes colleagues

Mason firefighters rally support for girl's family

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Firefighters are rallying around two of their own — Tracey and Tony Mattina, whose 9-year-old daughter was critically injured in an automobile wreck Tuesday on Mason-Montgomery Road in neighboring Deerfield Township.

        Mrs. Mattina was driving her three daughters home about 2 p.m. when Diane Beatty, 45, of Mason, backed her Toyota Avalon out of a private driveway onto Mason-Montgomery Road, and was struck by the Mattina family's Ford Explorer, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

        Deputy Fire Chief Ray Mueller said Mrs. Mattina, who is also an emergency medical technician, tried to help Brooke.

        “When she realized how severe the injuries were, she had difficulty composing herself ,” said her husband, who was not on duty when the accident occurred less than a mile from the family's house.

        Brooke, who was riding with her mother and sisters, Bryanna, 15, and Brittany, 11, was ejected from the vehicle, Mr. Mattina said. She was in the intensive care unit at Children's Hospital Medical Center awaiting surgery Wednesday.

        The Mattina family had just picked up Bryanna from her job at the Marriott hotel on Mason-Montgomery Road, and was on the way home when the accident occurred. Deputy Chief Mueller said the Explorer rolled over several times before coming to a stop.

        Mason firefighters, who were the first rescue units on the scene, are now trying to comfort the family. Firefighters, along with family and friends, put together their frequent flyer miles and pooled cash to help buy tickets for the family's relatives to visit. .

        Mrs. Mattina and her two other daughters suffered minor injuries.

        “We see this stuff pretty much on a daily basis ... and here we are dealing with one of our own,” Deputy Chief Mueller said. “It hits very close to home. It tends to make you see the realism in all of this, especially when it's one of your co-workers who's affected. We have to take care of our own.”

        Ms. Beatty was cited for failure to yield, which is a misdemeanor.

        Mr. Mattina thanked his colleagues.

        “The firefighters their support has been overwhelming,” he said. “They truly are our extended family. We wouldn't have been able to get through it without their support. Period.”


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