Sept. 13, 2018 – As Dunlap firefighters were responding to a call on Boston Town Road at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, #3 Engine wrecked on Kelly Cross Road, near Davis Road, causing damage to the vehicle, but no injuries.
According to Lt. Chris Walker of the Dunlap Volunteer Fire Department (VFD), Chief Norman Hatfield was driving the fire truck when the accident occurred on the narrow black top road.
“He got too close to the shoulder and went off in the ditch,” Walker said Thursday.
“Fire trucks that carry water, that water shifts every time you hit a bump or go around a corner,” he explained. “It’s very hard to get it back on the road without doing some damage. We’re lucky somebody like Norman was driving it that has 30-plus years of experience. He knew how to keep the truck upright and keep it rolling. He actually got it part of the way out of the ditch before the wrecker arrived.”
The electrical fire to which Dunlap VFD was responding was in the wall of a brick house on Boston Town Road.
“It started in a conduit from the meter to the breaker box,” Walker said. “The resident came home, saw smoke in his house, and called us.”
Firefighters contacted Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) to turn off the power, and then had to tear out a wall and remove a 3 x 3-foot section of bricks from the outside, to access the studs in the wall which had begun to smolder.
Some of the firefighters who had arrived at the scene of the fire with #5 Engine and #1 Tanker went to the scene of the wrecked fire truck and stayed with Chief Hatfield until the wrecker arrived, Walker said. Hatfield was the only occupant of the truck.
The truck was disabled, due to damage to the undercarriage, and is now at a mechanic shop for repairs.
Dunlap VFD returned to service after a little over an hour at the scene of the fire.