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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The newest and most expensive truck in the Providence Fire Department’s fleet is out of service after a partial roof collapse caused significant damage.
The city’s fire chief says Tower Ladder One is primarily used for its 100-foot extendable ladder and bucket.
Crews responded Saturday afternoon to a fire at a three-story, multi-family home on Stanwood Street. They used Tower Ladder One to reach a third-story window and search for people inside.
Once it was in place, a portion of the burning roof fell onto the truck’s bucket.
“When it was extended in the air, that roof came down into the bucket and effectively turned the inside of this bucket into a fire pit,” Chief Derek Silva told 12 News.
The interior of the bucket was burned and its cables and controls melted, according to Silva.
Crews attempted to extinguish the fire inside the bucket, but were then ordered to evacuate the home. The firefighters who used the bucket to get inside then had to find another way out.
“It was seconds or mere minutes from when they stepped off that bucket into that window until that portion of roof collapsed in the bucket,” Silva added. “So had things been different, had they remained in the bucket, had they operated from the bucket … they would have been injured and possibly something worse.”
Tower Ladder One was put into service in 2021. Silva said it’s worth roughly $1.4 million.
“It’s a lot easier to remove a victim or even a downed firefighter [using] the bucket because you can effectively put it below the window and basically fall right into it,” he explained.
Silva said their operations will not be interrupted while the truck is out of service. It’s one of two tower ladder trucks in Providence.
Despite the significant damage, Silva said the truck is not a total loss. The extent of the damage and cost to fix it is still being determined.
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