ASP investigating accident involving Newport fire truck

NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) – The City of Newport is now in themarket for a new fire truck.

That's because one of the Newport Fire Department's pumpertrucks was involved in an accident Thursday night.

The accident occurred where traffic merges from Highway 67onto Highway 18 in Newport.

Newport Fire Chief Alan Gansz says the fire truck wasactually on its way to a house fire when it drove over the viaduct acrossHighway 67. A pickup truck had apparently stopped at the exit ramp on the otherside, but then pulled in front of the fire truck as it passed.

"When my truck was hit, it threw him sideways," Gansz said."He got up on two wheels. He went backwards into a ditch, down the ditch and upthe ditch and turned over. When he turned over, then it flopped back on itswheels."

The chief says both vehicles sustained a significant amountof damage, but the fire engine is likely a total loss.

"To replace it," he said, "[it's going to cost] probablyclose to $200,000."

Both drivers went to the hospital, but the firefighter wasreleased early Friday morning.

"The other gentleman that was in the accident, I went totalk to him today, and he seems to be doing real well too," Gansz said.

Gansz is now waiting to see how much damage insurance willcover, but says it could likely be months before the city can get a new truck.

"Right now, I still have three pumpers," he said. "I don'thave a reserve right now, so we're okay as long as another truck doesn't godown or something happens to another one of my trucks."

The fire department is currently considering whether or notto rent another pumper to round out the fleet. It's also going to have send offmuch of the equipment stored on the truck that crashed for safety testing,including all the air tanks, hoses and ladders. That could be another costlyexpense if the equipment is too damaged to use again.

Gansz expects to meet with an insurance adjuster in the nextfew days to fully assess all the damage.

Arkansas State Police is now handling the investigation intothe accident, but the trooper's full report has yet to be completed.

ASP has also decided to withhold the names of those involved at this time.

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