A firefighter was seriously injured and a fire department’s fire truck was destroyed in a fire that happened in Northern Emmet County Friday, March 17.
Readmond-Friendship-Cross Village Fire Department Fire Chief Chris Krupa released a statement indicating the fire happened on Levering Road and involved a barn-like structure, which was destroyed in the fire.
In the release, Krupa said, “In fighting the fire a fire truck was destroyed and one fireman was injured. The fireman is expected to make a complete recovery.”
Krupa declined to release further details on the incident.
However, Cross Village Township Supervisor Gene Reck, did provide some additional details on the incident’s impact on the fire department’s operations.
Reck said the fire truck involved was a 1994 or 1996 model truck that was slated to be replaced in the next two years. He said the expected insurance payment on the lost truck won’t pay for its replacement, but, because the board that oversees the fire department has been putting money aside for the truck’s replacement, it will have enough money pay for the sooner-than-expected replacement.
Reck said the fire department’s board has not yet presented a plan for how it will replace the truck. It could choose to buy a new truck, buy a manufacturer’s demonstration model, or look for a used truck to buy.
Reck noted that there can be up to 18 months of lead time between ordering and taking delivery of a new fire truck from a manufacturer.
He said the lost truck had been stationed at the department’s Cross Village station and was one of three pumper trucks in the department’s fleet. He said for the short term, the department’s brush fire truck has been relocated to the Cross Village station to provide a truck with pumping ability in that station.
Reck said that although the loss of the truck does have some impact on the department’s firefighting capacity, he noted that in any major fire situation, all department’s pumpers would be sent to the scene anyway. Also, he noted that in major incident, the department typically calls for mutual aid from surrounding departments.
Reck said his understanding of what happened at the Levering Road incident was that what is believed to be a mechanical failure caused the unoccupied fire truck to roll from where it had been parked. He said the rolling fire truck caused the injury to the firefighter and then the truck rolled into the burning barn, where it was destroyed by the fire.
He said the injured firefighter has been released from the hospital and seems to be doing well. He said the firefighter is already receiving worker’s compensation through the fire department.
Reck noted that the fire department is operated by a non-profit organization which is overseen by a board made up of residents from the three townships the fire department serves.
He said the fire department contracts with the North Emmet Emergency Services Authority, which is a governmental body made up of representatives from the boards of the three townships, to provide fire protection services for the three townships. The authority board levies a fire protection millage that provides much of the funding for the fire department.