Brake Failure May Have Caused D.C. Fire Apparatus Accident with Police Cruiser

A D.C. fire engine was responding to a call for a report of a fire in a residential area of Northwest D.C. prior to an accident taking place with a police cruiser which may have been due to brake failure.

WTOP reports that a car drove in front of the fire truck, forcing it to swerve, and it hit a police car parked on the road.

Ed Smith, president of the union that represents firefighters in the city, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that firefighters on that truck reported an air leak issue with the truck’s brakes but he was unsure if that issue caused the accident.

“That’s initially what we are hearing over here, but we have to wait until the investigation is completed to find out exactly what happened,” he said. “For firefighter safety and citizen safety, we have to get to the bottom of it.”

Sean Conboy, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Department, told TheDCNF that the police department regularly investigates vehicle crashes and when large vehicles such as fire trucks are involved it is normal for additional investigations to occur.

Maintenance issues have been a major problem for the D.C. fire department this year, with less than half of its fleet certified for use.

During a city council hearing in April, then interim DC FEMS chief Edward Mills said that just 29 of the city’s 63 pump trucks are certified for use and only 11 of the city’s 26 ladder trucks are certified.

Mills also said that the preventative maintenance program consists of a single mechanic who travels to the 33 different fire stations in the city to identify issues with fire trucks.

The problem with maintenance is so bad that the D.C. Council enacted emergency legislation Tuesday that will see the city contract with private ambulance companies to handle some emergency calls and take the strain off the city’s severely deficient fleet.

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