A Columbia fire truck is heavily damaged after its ladder hit a power line during routine maintenance Sunday morning.
Firefighters say they were checking the truck's systems at Station 4 after getting it back from a maintenance facility when its ladder hit some overhead power lines. Firefighters were able to jump away from the truck and were unhurt. The truck caught fire on the driveway right outside the station. Crews were able to get the flames under control but were not able to finally put them out until Columbia Water & Light cut power to the area. Officials say that briefly left about 500-1000 people without power.
Battalion Chief John Metz said he has heard of similar incidents happening at fire departments around the country, but he thinks this is the first time it has happened in Columbia. He said there was no damage to the station. Metz said everyone is relieved there were no injuries.
"It's an unfortunate incident, but the fact that nobody is hurt is really critical, especially when you're dealing with power lines of this magnitude," he said.
Metz said the city would bring in a reserve truck to keep the station fully equipped while the damaged truck is out of service. He said the truck's equipment box is heavily damaged but the crew cabin and chassis seemed intact, so the city might be able to salvage it. He said the firefighters involved in the incident were given the rest of the day off.