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Schenectady fire truck catches on fire

February 21, 2014
Updated 1:49 p.m.
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A Schenectady fire truck caught fire around 10 p.m. Thursday night.
A Schenectady fire truck caught fire around 10 p.m. Thursday night.

— Three Schenectady firefighters returning from a call Thursday night found themselves immediately on their next call.

Their own fire truck was on fire.

The firefighters on Engine 4 were just returning to Station 4, which covers the North Side, at about 10 p.m. when they smelled something, Deputy Fire Chief Kurt Gerfin said.

“They got out of their rig, looked underneath and saw an orange glow,” Gerfin said. “They called for help and hit it with extinguishers.”

No one was hurt.

They discovered the small fire as they prepared to back the truck into the station at Nott Street and Avenue A, Gerfin said. Instead, the truck remained outside as they used the extinguishers and other firefighters came to their aid.

Two engines and one truck came, but firefighters were able to get the hard-to-reach fire out within minutes. They used dry powder extinguishers to put it out.

Damage was contained to the underside of the truck. The cause was likely an electrical short in an area where wires from the rear of the truck meet wires from the front, Assistant Fire Chief Michael Gillespie said Friday.

Mechanics responded to the station to get a first look at the truck. The truck was then driven to the shop for repairs.

“It shouldn’t be difficult to repair,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said that such problems are rare, but they do happen. Not long ago, firefighters were returning to the station with Truck 2 and noticed smoke coming from the bottom of the rig. That was traced to a power cable. They shut down the truck and got it in for repairs.

On Thursday night, fire coverage at the station was quickly restored with a spare truck, Gerfin said.

At the scene, Gerfin noted how unusual the situation was.

“A fire truck on fire,” he said, “it’s kind of unique, isn’t it?”

 
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