Walker County (GA) Accident Damages Most Expensive Fire Apparatus

An accident during a breakfast run has resulted in significant damage to Walker County’s (GA) most expensive firefighting apparatus.

Firefighter Rodney Johnson was driving the vehicle known as a “Quint,”a multi purpose apparatus that combines the traditional ladder truck with the pumping capabilities of an engine truck.

Due to the size of the vehicle, drivers frequently have to park in larger parking lots to accommodate the size, as was done by Johnson by parking in the adjacent Fred’s lot.

The custom-made $630,000 vehicle was accidentally driven into a metal light pole, one of two in the parking lot, according to county coordinator David Ashburn.

It went into service in August 2012, funded by a Department of Homeland Security Assistance to Firefighters grant program. It was purchased to help improve the county’s ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating, which was subsequently improved to 3/8B on May 1, the only rural fire department in Georgia to attain that rank.

None of the firefighters were injured in the accident, but significant damage was incurred to the cab of the vehicle. Officials do not know how costly the accident was; however the insurance will cover the majority, with a $1,000 deductible to contribute.

Ashburn hopes the repair can be done regionally, instead of sending it to the Pennsylvania facility where it took eight months to build.

Public online reaction to the incident assumed protocols, questioned the necessity of the vehicle and second-guessed firefighters’ responsibilities — all without much regard or questions for the first-responder’s condition following the incident.

The citizen’s uproar on the LaFayette Underground’s Facebook page led WCES fire chief Randy Camp to directly address a number of the misconceptions on departmental operations and the incident itself in a lengthy letter posted on the Walker County Emergency Services’ Facebook page.

An image of the damaged vehicle had been viewed more than 11,300 in the first 24 hours, according to the anonymous administrator of LaFayette Underground.

“The initial investigation shows that no one had malicious intent to damage the fire truck,” Camp said. “However, that doesn’t excuse what has happened.”

For more information, view www.walkermessenger.com

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