by Leon Norville
A firefighter is in the Intensive Care Unit at Mount St John’s Medical Centre following a freak accident on Monday morning at VC Bird International Airport.
Fire Chief Elvis Weaver said the incident occurred at around 9.10am when one of the emergency fire trucks attached to the airport was taken on a routine test run.
He confirmed that, based on the investigations thus far, it appears as though there was a mechanical malfunction that may have caused the brakes to fail or accelerator pedal to become stuck.
This, he said, rendered the truck inoperable causing the vehicle to continue accelerating at a high speed, before crashing through the airport fence and overturning in a ditch close to Burma Road on the southern side of the runway.
He said the firefighter at the wheel of the truck would have tried to regain control of the vehicle but failed to do so.
The Fire Chief said that the 20-year-old truck is not salvageable and confirmed that the loss of this vehicle spells a major setback for the department which just last year saw one of its other emergency vehicles out of service after it was also involved in an accident.
“It’s a setback… we can always try and pool our resources together to make sure that everything goes well,” he said.
When asked about ensuring that the airport is adequately covered in terms of having the required gallons of water and foam, he said that the fire department will reassign a truck from another station to the airport.
Weaver expressed wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured firefighter, adding that a three-man team has been put together to carry out further investigations into the incident.