Reports tell why 2 Augusta firetrucks overturned in a week

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:02 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - An investigation continues after two Augusta trucks overturn while responding to emergency calls.

“Locked up” brakes are getting the blame for both incidents.

The most recent incident happened just before 9:30 p.m. Saturday on Old Waynesboro Road at Neely Road. Tender 12 and Engine 12 were heading to a call when Tender 12 went off the left side of the road and overturned.

The firefighter driving the truck was taken to Augusta University Medical Center for evaluation and was later released.

An accident report released Monday said Tender 12 was traveling south when the driver slowed due to the vehicle in front of him. The firetruck’s rear brakes locked up, causing the truck to veer off the road and turn onto its driver side.

The report says the driver of the firetruck “is at fault for failure to maintain lane.”

The wreck came just days after another Augusta firetruck overturned along the on-ramp to westbound Interstate 20 from Washington Road.

Ladder Truck 501 rolled over last Monday while responding to a commercial fire, Fire Chief Antonio Burden said.

Three firefighters were hurt, but were released from hospitals later that evening.

Also released Monday was an accident report on that wreck.

It says the firetruck was traveling west on Washington Road and the driver was attempting to make a left turn onto the westbound Interstate 20 on-ramp “and the brakes locked up.”

The firetruck began a slight counterclockwise rotation while making the left turn and struck the curbing and overturned onto the right side, according to the accident report.

An officer observed multiple tire marks indicating braking and slight rotation, according to the report.

The officer’s investigation determined the driver was traveling too fast for conditions, the angle of the turn and the weight distribution of the truck.

An expensive problem

Augusta Commission member Catherine Smith McKnight says, “I haven’t heard of two firetrucks flipping over in a week, it’s almost unheard of.”

Two overturned fire trucks on opposite sides of Augusta, while several days apart, one common thread from the incident reports is both drivers say the brakes locked up on both trucks.

While drivers and passengers in both incidents were released after medical treatment, there’s still the question of the trucks.

McKnight says, “It’s not going to be cheap to replace, or have these firetrucks fixed. It’s not and so we need to get to the bottom of why this is happening.”

McKnight, who is starting 2023 as the new chair of the Augusta Commission’s Public Safety Committee, plans to address these accidents at the next committee meeting so that a discussion with the full commission can take place.

“I felt like we were getting headway with the proper training needed,” McKnight says.

This sentiment refers to about three months ago when Fire Chief Antonio Burden introduced the newest graduating recruit class in October, saying it is the highest-trained class in the history of the Augusta Fire Department.

And there’s an almost $5 million grant to keep them here.

The question remains of how much it’s going to take to replace these two trucks.

“That’s a discussion that should be had at the commission meeting,” McKnight says.