One of the city’s largest fire trucks will be out of commission for at least two months after a collision in the wee hours Friday morning (Jan. 4).
One of the London Fire Department’s (LFD) three 100-foot aerial platform trucks was hit by a payloader at the intersection of Wellington Road and King Street while returning from an alarm call just after 1 a.m.
London Police Service spokesperson Const. Ken Steeves could not confirm on Monday morning (Jan. 7) whether the 20-year-old male London resident driving the payloader at the time has been charged.
The “unique” collision leaves the LFD with only half the complement of the large aerial trucks a city London’s size should have, according to Deputy Chief Brian George.
The city has two other 100-foot aerial platform trucks and three 75-foot aerial/pumper combination vehicles.
“For a city the size of London we should actually have four (of the 100-footers) at this point,” George said. “If we did have a large-scale fire, say an industrial fire where we would need a lot of tower support, our ability would be hampered in that way.”
It may sound like there are “still two” of the large trucks in service, but fire vehicles are stationed strategically across the city to ensure a minimum standard of response time to a call. Depending on what part of the city a fire breaks out in, response time could be impacted negatively, increasing the risk of injury to people and damage to property.
He said the 75-foot tower/pumper combination trucks push 1,250 gallons of water per minute (gpm) compared to the 1,500 gpm capacity of the larger trucks.
“It’s just not quite the same lift and reach you might need at a larger fire.”
George said the driver of the fire truck saw the 50,000-pound construction vehicle coming and tried to avoid it, even moving the 60,000-plus pound fire truck over two lanes before the collision occurred.
“It’s a busy intersection even at that time of night and there are a lot of parked vehicles around,” George told London Community News Monday morning (Jan. 7). “The driver did a really good job of keeping the vehicle on the road and not hitting anything else.”
All firefighters who operate vehicles take a defensive driving course. The LFD has a certified instructor on staff.
George said the loader hit the fire truck on the front passenger side and spun along the side of the fire truck causing even more damage.
Damage is estimated at approximately $75,000 but that figure could increase as the body shop performing the repairs gets a more detailed look at the damage.
George said the two-month time frame is also an estimate and includes the required re-certification of various parts of the ladder and the torque box where the ladder fixes to the vehicle.
“That’s why it’s a preliminary estimate, like any collision until you peel the skin back and see what is underneath you never really know.”