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Firefighters say faulty brakes caused two Augusta fire trucks to overturn in 1 week

Although firefighters told Richmond County sheriff's deputies their brakes failed, causing two fire trucks to overturn within the same week, the Augusta Fire Department said the incidents are still under investigation.

The crashes, which occurred on Jan. 16 and Jan. 21, involved an aerial ladder truck and a tender truck, which brings water to fires.

Ladder truck 501, an aerial fire truck, was purchased for $649,500 on Feb. 28, 2002 and was picked up by Augusta Fire Department on June 5, 2002, according to county records.

The Augusta Chronicle inquired about the age and price of tender truck 12 and will update this article when that information is released.

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Officials with the department would not provide information about the amount of damage each vehicle sustained, or confirm if the trucks will need to be replaced. They said the city has reserve trucks that can be utilized while damage is assessed.

“Augusta Fire Department wants to reassure our community that we remain diligent, prudent, and prepared to answer any calls for service," Augusta Fire Chief Antonio Burden said. "Despite the unfortunate circumstances concerning the recent incidents we have the resources available to continue to provide our citizens with the world class service they expect and deserve.”

Diagram created by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office showing the wreck.
Diagram created by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office showing the wreck.

First crash involving ladder truck 501

The first wreck occurred on Washington Road, near Exit 199, just before 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 16.

A 34-year-old Augusta firefighter driving Ladder truck 501 was traveling west on Washington Road at the intersection of Interstate 20.

The firefighter told deputies he was attempting to make a left turn onto the on-ramp when his brakes locked up, according to the incident report. The fire truck struck the curb and overturned on its right side. Deputies found multiple tire marks indicating braking and slight rotation.

Deputies determined the driver was driving too fast for conditions and was at fault for the wreck, according to the report.

Despite deputies noting there was "disabling damage" to the truck, none of the three firefighters in the truck at the time of the wreck required medical attention, according to the report.

The driver was not drug tested or tested for alcohol, according to the report.

Diagram created by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office showing the wreck.
Diagram created by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office showing the wreck.

Second crash involving tender truck 12

The second wreck occurred at the intersection of Old Waynesboro and Neely roads at 9:35 p.m. on Jan. 21.

The driver of Augusta Fire Tender 12, a 36-year-old firefighter, told deputies he was slowing down due the vehicle in front of him when his rear brakes locked up, causing him to veer off the road, overturning the fire truck on the driver's side, according to the incident report.

The driver was transported by Augusta Fire Department MED 4 to Augusta University for evaluation and later released, according to officials.

Again, Richmond County deputies determined the driver was at fault for failure to maintain lane, according to the report. The driver was not alcohol or drug tested.

During the wreck, there was a diesel fuel spill. Hazmat and the training chief responded, according to officials.

AFD consulted with Georgia Environmental Protection Agency to develop a remediation plan which is currently underway, according to officials. The leak was contained.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Two Augusta Fire trucks overturn, brakes blamed