Salado Volunteer Fire Department lost its prime rescue truck this morning when volunteer Juan Castillo was driving it to the scene of an accident on I-35 in the Prairie Dell are at about midnight last night (March 30). The engine began smoking and eventually ignited into flames and engulfed the cab.
SVFD Chief Shane Berrier was already on location at the accident when Castillo called him to tell him that the engine had started to smoke. Castillo was able to turn the truck, a 1995 International that the fire department bought new at the time, around and head back to Salado. He got as far as Thomas Arnold at West Village Road when he had to pull over. The engine then caught fire and spread to the cab of the rescue truck.
Fortunately, SVFD was able to get the rescue equipment off of the truck and there were no injuries to SVFD personnel.
“The truck is a loss, though,” Chief Berrier said. He added that he is in contact with the insurance company to begin filing the claim. “I don’t think we will get back the replacement cost of the vehicle, just the value of it.”
This will put a financial burden on the SVFD when the department replaces the rescue unit. Chief Berrier estimates the cost to replace the rescue unit at $200,000. “We priced some used 2005 models and they are at least $160,000,” Chief Berrier said.
“I don’t know if the insurance company is going to total the vehicle or make us reuse the bed and body and put it on a new chassis,” he said. “We are waiting to hear back from them.”
The insured value on the rescue unit is $100,000.
If you would like to make a donation to help replace the rescue unit, you can mail payments to Salado Volunteer Fire Department, PO Box 503, Salado, TX 76571. You can also donate through gofundme