Confirmed: DC Fire Truck Hit Police Car After Brake Failure

Josh Fatzick | Reporter

Officials confirmed a fire truck in Washington, D.C., smashed into a police car last week due to a faulty brake system.

A final accident report released by the Metropolitan Police Department Friday shows an imbalance in the truck’s braking system forced the vehicle to the left and directly into a parked police cruiser.

“We have received the accident report provided by the Metropolitan Police Department,” said D.C. Fire and EMS Chief Gregory Dean. “We will continue to test our apparatus to ensure that their braking systems are fully functional and allow our vehicles to stop safely.”

According to an independent review conducted by the police department, a device used to manually release the parking brake when a truck needs to be towed may have locked up the rear right axle, causing the truck to pull hard to the left.

The fire truck was responding to a call in a residential neighborhood in Northwest D.C. while the police car was parked on the side of the road. Initial reports indicated that the fire truck swerved to avoid oncoming traffic, but it appears now that the faulty brakes are to blame.

Prior to leaving the fire house on the morning of the accident, firefighters on the truck notified the Apparatus Division that they were having issues with the truck’s brakes.

Fire department spokesman Tim Wilson said in a statement that the truck’s brake system had an air leak, but that the air leak wasn’t significant enough to warrant the truck’s removal from service.

The truck last had work done on Sept. 23 when maintenance personnel synchronized its clock meter. It last had brake work done in June 2014.

Following the accident, Wilson said all the fire trucks in the fleet will have their brakes evaluated, beginning with those most recently towed.

Maintenance issues have been a major problem for the D.C. fire department this year, with less than half of its fleet certified for use.

The problem with maintenance is so bad that the D.C. Council enacted emergency legislation last week that will see the city contract with private ambulance companies to handle some emergency calls and take the strain off the city’s severely deficient fleet.

The new plan comes after several instances where none of the city’s ambulances were available and firefighters were forced to carry people to the hospital on their trucks. In August, an infant died because the nearest ambulance more than seven miles away.

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Tags : district of columbia district of columbia fire and ems department district of columbia metropolitan police muriel bowser
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