2005 Update: After extensive physical therapy and a very courageous fight to return to her firefighting career, Peggy was forced to retire in February of 2005. If she had been able to stay on the line, she would have been promoted to lieutenant in May of 2004, which would have made her the 2nd female officer ever in the Pittburgh Bureau of Fire. Due to her injury, however, she was passed over for that promotion. (There are no longer any light-duty positions for injured firefighters in the City of Pittsburgh.)
Co-worker Colleen Walz told WFS, "It was with great happiness that I was able to witness her battle back to walking, but it is with deep sadness that I watch her walk away from the fire service. Good luck & best wishes to Peggy Vath."
Pittsburgh firefighter Margaret (Peggy) Vath was seriously injured on November 5, 2003, when a car hit her and pinned her against a utility pole. Vath, who is 48, suffered multiple pelvic fractures in the crash.
According to news sources, the incident occurred after Engine Company 11, responding on a call, proceeded through an intersection with the green light. A passenger car driven by an 83-year-old woman ran the red light on the cross-street and hit the front of the fire engine.
Vath got out of the engine to check on the car's driver, but the driver put her car in reverse and backed into her, dragging her about 40 feet as Vath clutched the back of the vehicle, until it hit a utility pole, crushing Vath between the car and the pole.
She was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Medical Center, where she was initially in critical condition. She was moved to a rehab facility several days later, and then to a nursing home. Co-workers say she faces a long recovery, and would not be able to be on her feet for at least two months. One of the women who came on the job with Peggy told WFS, "She truly is lucky to be alive, and the news reports didn't convey all of what this accident entailed." Vath has been with the department for 14 years and attended the 1993 WFS conference in Virginia.
NETWORKING THE WOMEN OF TODAY'S FIREFIGHTING WORLD, AND PROVIDING RESOURCES TO HELP BUILD THE FIRE SERVICE OF THE FUTURE