Mike Wilbur


DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – The Decatur Fire Department is down a ladder truck after someone crashed into a rig over the weekend.

The department reported Truck 1 was headed West on Grand Avenue early Sunday morning when a car traveling on Monroe Street crashed into the rear of the passenger side.

“Now we are without our main ladder truck in the city for what’s probably several, several months,” said Decatur Fire Chief Jeff Abbott.

The department has four ladder trucks, but only one is in service. Chief Abbott said the ladder truck in service is also damaged after a woman turned in front of them back in January.

“It’s damaged in the front waiting to get repaired, but that’s the only truck we’ve got right now,” Abbott said.

The crash caused the department to rearrange rigs. Chief Abbott explained Truck 3, which was housed at Station 2, is moved to Station 1 and now Truck 2 is working out of a reserve engine that isn’t a ladder.

“The ladder trucks are more valuable on residential fires where we are keeping the fire from spreading … guys are going to the roof to do ventilation and it’s a lot safer to do it off the ladder truck,” Abbott said.

The loss of a ladder truck comes at a busy time for the department. Last year on this date, the department responded to 100 fires. As of Monday, they’ve responded to 155.

“This has been a very busy year for fires, very busy,” Abbott said.

Chief Abbott explained firefighters have seen an increase is fire calls, and especially cooking fires, which are up 40%. He said this loss of a ladder truck is detrimental to the city.

“We’ve overcome a lot of different adversities, whether it’s call volumes during storms or couple of fires at the same time,” Abbott said. “However, it doesn’t matter what we’ve got … we’re still going to respond (and) we are still going to do the best that we can.”

The cause is under investigation by the Decatur Police Department. Everyone walked away from the crash. Pierce Manufacturing is evaluating the damage of Truck 1.

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