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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) - The Jeffersonville Fire Department is down to one ladder truck following an accident on Saturday, May 10.
Jeffersonville Fire Chief Eric Hedrick says his department will likely need to buy a new ladder truck.
On Saturday night, three firefighters in truck #45 slipped off the side of Charlestown Pike while responding to a house fire caused by lightning. The slick road conditions caused the right front tire to drop down about 8 to 10 inches in the wet mud.
"It's a very unfortunate event,” said Chief Hedrick.
The damage seems to be extensive, from a broken windshield and off-set tires, to dirt and debris stuck where the truck hit a phone pole. After hitting the pole, it hit a group of bushes and then ended up in a creek causing damage to the undercarriage.
It took several wrecking crews about five hours to get it out.
"We believe that it has some frame damage just that the way that the tires are out of alignment," said the chief.
To buy a new one just like it, Hedrick says it could cost more than $700,000. He's already met with the city and waiting on the insurance claim.
“That's the wild card right now at this point,” he said, "is it going to be repairable or not."
Even if it's a total loss and insurance covers the damage, the city will still need to find the money to buy a new one. City Council President Dennis Julius said it will be a priority purchase.
"Our priority is keeping everyone safe, keeping our firefighters in some great equipment,” he said, “and if the fire truck is totaled, we'll have to find a way to pay for it and we can do that."
It may be the end of Truck #45. But with another ladder in the fleet, the chief says residents should not be worried.
"We're still responding as normal. We've got the one ladder truck that's still responding, and like I said, if multiple ones are needed we'd call neighboring departments."
Chief Hedrick says he's already talked with Clarksville about using a ladder if his department needs help with a fire in the meantime.