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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade firefighters were saved by one of their trucks during an emergency call on the Palmetto Expressway.

Overnight, fire crews were called to assist in a hit and run accident in the southbound lanes of the highway between Okeechobee Road and NW 74th Street.

Arriving crews used a fire engine to block off two lanes of traffic while they helped the injured driver. As they were doing this, a car plowed into the back of the fire truck.

“If this vehicle wasn’t in the position it was in, blocking the traffic for the oncoming, we could have had some fatalities out here with the firefighters,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Ernie Jillson.

That driver who hit the fire truck died on impact. Jillson said the person they were trying to render aid to in the initial crash was transported to a trauma center.

The deadly crash shut down the highway for hours, creating a back up for miles during the morning rush hour.

Gregory Hunt was heading to work and hit the tail end of the massive backup.

“There’s nothing you can do if you’re heading this way,” he said.

The road re-opened just before 7 a.m.