Chicago (WLS) – “Two firefighters on their way to the O’Hare fire station helped rescue a pinned-in bus driver and others injured in a shuttle bus crash just off westbound I-190.

A bus, which had just picked up passengers from a nearby lot, crashed into a concrete divider on the ramp approaching Terminal 1 around 6:30 a.m. Friday. The guardrail was driven five feet into the bus as a result of the impact, nearly splitting it in half. 

The female bus driver was pinned in. Authorities said she could have been killed. But two Chicago firefighters on their way into work at O’Hare happened to be only two cars behind the bus at the time of the crash. They called it in and jumped out of their vehicle to assist. 

One of those firefighters, Rory Williams, broke the driver-side window with a ball peen hammer he had in his car, lifting the driver out to safety. He injured his back in the process.

The other fire fighter, Robert Gembala, boarded the shuttle and immediately helped more than a dozen injured passengers – many of them bleeding with broken bones.

“It was kind of surreal. The bus went straight into the barrier – steam and smoke and fluids,” Gembala said. “Obviously we are trained to make sure we take care of the patients first.”

The driver, an airport employee, and Williams were transported to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. She is listed in serious condition. Williams is listed in good condition.

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