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Overturned fire engine in Huntersville, North Carolina. Cornelius-Lemley Fire & Rescue rig rolls on icy roads. Chief handles the news head-on.

Cornelius-Lemley Fire & Rescue picture.

Check out for video from the crash scene

This is a picture of Cornelius-Lemley Fire & Rescue’s Engine 5, a 2005 Seagrave, and how it looked yesterday morning. The good news is there were no injuries to the four firefighters on board. by Glenn Usdin has video posted of what this rig looks like after if was brought back on its wheels. Click here to see it.

More on this and other news in the fire apparatus world from by Glenn Usdin.

One of the more interesting aspects of this story is that the picture above was distributed to the local news media by Cornelius-Lemley Fire & Rescue. There is also a pretty detailed account of what happened written by Chief James Barbee posted right at the top of the department’s home page.

I am sure some will argue that if this is the only picture of the upside down engine, from a public relations standpoint it was a bad idea to release it. Why broadcast this image of the department?

That is a point you can’t discount, but I would argue the opposite. To me, the image it is showing is of a fire department that communicates openly and transparently with it’s citizens. It is letting the public know they can rely on their fire department as a source of accurate and timely information, whether the news is good or bad. And the person who they will get that info from is the man in charge.

A good example of getting the bad news out quickly, trying to get it behind you and moving on. Here is what Chief Barbee wrote:

Cornelius Engine 5 was responding to a reported structure fire in a commercial occupancy in Huntersville, NC.  Engine 5 was traveling emergency traffic, with regard to the rainy and potentially icy conditions, South on Poplar Tent Rd.  While responding, Engine 5 traveled onto a stretch of road encased with heavy black ice that was not visible from inside the cab which resulted in a loss of traction from the rear wheels as the road began to turn.  The Engineer driving the apparatus took strict evasive maneuvers; however, the truck continued to slide for approximately 100 yards before the front right of the truck slid off of the road and the rear of the truck continued on ice.  The end result was Engine 5 rolling over and coming to rest on the roof.  Four firefighters were riding in the apparatus and sustained no injuries, though each were checked, all have been released by a physician for normal duties.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department responded and investigated the incident. The police report notes that the roads were “wet and icy” and the estimated travel speed was 25mph which was the sustained speed at time of impact.

The Cornelius-Lemley Fire Rescue Department recently purchased a 1995 Seagrave Engine to serve as a reserve engine company. This truck will now be placed to front line service and the citizens of the Cornelius-Lemley Fire Rescue district will not see any lapse in service.

The Cornelius-Lemley Fire Rescue Department requires all of its drivers to be certified as a North Carolina Emergency Vehicle Drivers and they must undergo a rigorous in house testing procedure that includes driving the truck on a predetermined driving course.

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