A Columbia fire truck is heavily damaged after its ladder hit a power line during routine maintenance Sunday morning.
Firefighters say they were checking the truck’s systems at Station 4 after getting it back from a maintenance facility when its ladder hit some overhead power lines. Firefighters were able to jump away from the truck and were unhurt. The truck caught fire on the driveway right outside the station. Crews were able to get the flames under control but were not able to finally put them out until Columbia Water & Light cut power to the area. Officials say that briefly left about 500-1000 people without power.
Battalion Chief John Metz said he has heard of similar incidents happening at fire departments around the country, but he thinks this is the first time it has happened in Columbia.
The station’s crew was conducting a routine maintenance check of its 2009 Sutphen fire engine at 9:36 a.m. Sunday when the engine’s 75-foot aerial ladder touched a high-voltage electrical transmission line, Battalion Chief John Metz said in a news release.
A crew member on the truck was able to jump off and was not injured, he said. A resultant fire heavily damaged the fire engine. Additional fire crews arrived and worked to prevent the fire from spreading to the fire station, Metz said. Crews had to wait about 45 minutes until the electric line was de-energized before they could extinguish the fire on the engine, he said.
Metz said the incident did not affect the department’s ability to maintain service to Columbia residents.
“We immediately placed a reserve fire engine in service and there is no interruption in service delivery to our customers,” Metz said. “It is an unfortunate incident, but the important thing is that no one was hurt.”