Zores: More Than Just a Towing Company

By Bryon Turcotte

If someone had mentioned that tow trucks and wreckers did a lot more than pick up delinquent parked cars or pull out vehicles from the scene of an accident, I would have had a hard time envisioning the important work they are exposed to each day. Zores, located in Indianapolis Indiana, is more than just a collection of trucks positioned for predictable tasks. The company’s purpose is more than what anyone outside the fire, emergency, and rescue service can imagine. 

Until recently, I had no idea that a company like Zores existed. A conversation with Tim Moore, a member of the Zores management team, showed me that there is more than meets the eye. A business started by two people more than 80 years ago has grown into more than a towing company or a group of trucks and drivers picking up illegally parked vehicles. The Zores team headed by Moore, Jimmy Zore, Ed Miller, Kurt Knecht, and Paul Carnes has become a resource and a useful tool in the business of saving lives and ensuring safety.

Zore's Inc., Indianapolis, IndianaJohn and Anna Zore started a body shop and towing service in Haughville, Indianapolis, in 1927 and worked to cultivate its growth into not only a successful towing business but also an important component in fire service training and emergency rescue and recovery that many may not see from its modern-day profile. John and Anna moved their business to 1300 N. Mickley Avenue in Indianapolis in 1945. 

At this time, they created two divisions of the business, a salvage yard and a used auto parts store, which proved to be successful. Over time, Zores branched off and established two additional locations, one in Avon and another in Lebanon, Indiana. As business grew, they were able to acquire both Bob’s Towing, also in Lebanon, and Kinman Wrecker Service in Greenwood, Indiana.

Zore's Inc., Indianapolis, IndianaLet’s look at Zores first from a towing-company perspective. A look at its client listing is impressive. The company presently tows for nine police departments in the region: Lebanon, Clermont, Speedway, Whitestown, Avon, and Plainfield, as well as the Boone County and Hendricks County Sheriff’s departments and the Indiana State Police. 

Zores also works with Hoosier Helper, a program the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) created in 1991 , to assist stranded motorists on Indiana interstates; INDOT has have helped more than 350,000 individuals. Over time Zores took an active role in numerous successful rescue and recovery efforts in Indiana involving police, fire, and emergency crews that needed the additional personnel, techniques, and experience to get the job done effectively and safely.

An incident on October 22, 2009, in Indianapolis proved to be an excellent example of how the Zores component contributes to the success of a delicate emergency situation. The interstate corridor of I-465 and I-69, one of the state’s most traveled routes was the stage for a serious accident that could have ended in widespread confusion and tragedy. A propane tanker exploded on the interstate’s northeast side, forcing a number of organizations to coordinate their efforts and think quickly about how the Zore's Inc., Indianapolis, Indianaincident should be contained and safely shielded from the innocent travelers. 

Crews of men and women from INDOT., Zores, the Indiana State Police, fire departments from Lawrence (IN) Township, Indiana’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, and scores of other agencies and emergency responders worked immediately to identify the safest and most effective route for drivers and investigated road and bridge damage, coordinated communications, and ensured the creation of a safer environment in the midst of tragic circumstances.

An important goal of transportation and incident responder agencies is to restore normal traffic flow as quickly as possible and to minimize congestion.  I-465 and I-69 see approximately 150,000 vehicles daily, so each moment was critical. All involved in this incident were planning and evaluating alternative routes, adjusting traffic signals, and assessing the damage to minimize the larger crisis that could have occurred. Zorescontributed a unique and valuable tool to help get this job done.
It had prepared the participating agencies at this incident for such an event through its rescue response training program. Zores trains agencies to prepare for the situations to which they will be called to respond. The real-life training scenarios incorporate vehicles and equipment that the agencies will work with at the accident scene.Vehicles are donated by Zores so fire departments can organize scenarios using vehicles and simulated victims to teach vehicle extrication and victim rescue and recovery. The company works closely with firefighters and their departments assisting them in keeping training costs low.  
Zores has a large collection of special, heavy equipment that is called by fire departments when victims must be rescued at dangerous incidents. Zores realizes that cross-training with fire departments and other rescue organizations is important. 

Zores Receives an Award from FDIC 2009Each year the Fire Department Instructor Conference (FDIC) becomes a place where firefighters, first responders, rescue teams, and fire service training professionals converge to take part in the largest fire service training event in the world. Zores plays a major role in the event, providing  vehicles, materials, and personnel to assist in training exercises that help firefighters run through specific scenarios, collaborate with each other, and use and understand the equipment that is on scene during an incident. Zores has a broad reach;  it has become the source and the training ground also for  law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services the U.S. Department of Defense, , and U.S. Homeland Defense/Security  agencies.

The ongoing goal for the Zores team is to bring firefighters, emergency agencies, and tow operators together and help them to become more efficient through realistic training.

Indeed, the Zores team is much more than a towing company or a provider of specialized equipment, such as a tow truck, to the emergency scene.  Zores explains that tow operators, too, must be highly trained and experienced; they are trained in specific techniques, anchor ability, and resistance, for example. They also comply with the rules and regulations of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as they pertain to the safety of rescue workers and the public and are valuable team additions when responding to natural and manmade disasters and acts of terrorism.

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