HOUSTON — A small Houston-area fire department is without their newest piece of equipment after a national recall of fire ladder trucks.
Sheldon Community Fire's brand new ladder should be perfect for a high rescue, but Chief Sydney Webb wonders, “I could not do a rescue out of this truck right now. It would not be safe. That’s because in the last several months there have been a string of incidents with firefighters who were injured when the ladder rapidly retracted."
The Sutphen Corporation, which has built fire trucks for more than a hundred years, voluntarily asked departments to take them out of service. "I would rather take every precaution necessary than to put firefighters at risk,” said company president Drew Sutphen. That leaves Chief Webb and Sheldon with their new state of the art truck parked with a problem, "That is my only option right now is to call in mutual aid.” Call another department with a ladder truck to respond, but the chief said, ”The other departments are part time and volunteers. So if a volunteer is not there then you could have a delayed response."