Send well wishes to injured Hall County firefighters

HALL COUNTY, Ga. -- Hall County's top fire officials as well as engineers from the manufacturer inspected an aerial ladder truck Thursday that partially collapsed Tuesday sending three firefighters to the hospital.

"Right now they're looking at the cable itself then they'll be looking at each section of the ladder," Fire Marshal Scott Cagle told 11Alive News.

Deputy Chief Cagle said they're trying to figure out why a 40 foot length of the aerial platform truck's five sections suddenly collapsed during an afternoon training session.

Despite some news reports, Cagle said the manufacturer, Sutphen Corporation of Dublin, Ohio, has NOT issued a recall of the SPH100, only a voluntary advisory to fire departments who operate them to temporarily take them out of serve or at least not use the extending ladder.

It turns out Sutphen issued new maintenance procedures for 156 of that model last November for a suspected ball bearing problem.

Hall County acquired its 2006 truck in April and said it appeared to be in fine condition.

"It was totally refurbished by Sutphen and, in fact, if we had the money sitting in the bank today, we would go out and buy this same exact one," Cagle added.

Hall County has hired an outside engineer to help with its investigation of the ladder accident.

"They want to get down to the bottom of this just as badly as we do," Cagle said.

A similar incident with a Sutphen ladder truck injured three firefighters in a suburb of Erie, Pennsylvania last month.

In the metro Atlanta area, Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett County Fire Departments have taken nearly a dozen similar models out of service or are only using them for backup.

Meanwhile, firefighters T.J. Elliott, Will Griffin and Stephen Jackson remain hospitalized with everything from bruises to broken bones and all three will need surgery.

"Right now they are surrounded by Atlanta Fire Fighters, DeKalb, as well as our own firefighters and they're friends and families; it's been awesome to see the outpouring of community support," Cagle said.

1) Get well cards can be sent to:
Hall County Fire Services
PO Box 907730
Gainesville, GA 30501

2) You can make a donation to:
Hall County Injured Firefighters Fund
Hall Co Credit Union
2601 Limestone Parkway
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 534-4255

3) Send your messages of encouragement on Facebook HERE.


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