Two Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service firefighters have been placed on routine administrative leave after their $1.5 million ladder truck became stranded in a creek during a rescue on June 10.
According to a Fire and Rescue Service press release, fire and rescue personnel were responding to a report of a car stuck in flood waters near West Baltimore Road in the Ten-Mile Creek area of Clarksburg at about 6:30 p.m.
As they were arriving at the scene, the fire crew encountered the people who had originally been trapped in the car. They got out on their own and told the firefighters there was no one else in the car.
The ladder truck continued toward the stranded vehicle to make sure there was no one else in the car, according to the MCFRS statement.
“They confirmed that there were no persons in the vehicle and the crew proceeded to drive across the [ford]. The [truck] became stranded. The crew attempted to free the truck but was unsuccessful. The crew ultimately had to abandon the truck due to rapidly rising water and concern for their own personal safety,” the statement said.
No one was injured, the statement said.
The truck was later towed out of the waters and taken to the MCFRS motor fleet section to be inspected and repaired.
There were three people in the truck during the incident, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Scott Graham, who declined to discuss details about what disciplinary actions the two firefighters could face or to identify them.
He said the truck is a 100-foot aerial platform that has “all steer capability,” meaning its rear wheels turn independently of the front wheels with the help of a computer system.
A fully equipped fire truck of that type runs about $1.5 million, Graham said.
“[Fire trucks] are rugged, but water and electronics ... that’s our concern. That’s why its being evaluated, to see the extent of the damage and potential damage,” he said.
Due to the nature of the work firefighters do, their trucks suffer minor damage frequently, he said.
“Something to this magnitude ... I can’t remember an incident like this in my career,” he said.