Fire puts Mission ladder truck out of service

The 100-foot aerial cab caught fire Saturday evening while parked in the fire hall

Mission's ladder truck's cab suffered extensive damage after a fire earlier this week.

Mission's ladder truck's cab suffered extensive damage after a fire earlier this week.

Mission Fire/Rescue’s ladder truck is out of commission after its engine compartment ignited on the weekend, due to an electrical and mechanical malfunction of the vehicle’s external block heater, according to investigators.

A crew member discovered smoke coming from the 100-foot aerial truck Saturday, Dec. 14, around 8 p.m., when he came to the Seventh Avenue fire station in response to another call. There were no other crew at the station.

“We were here an hour previous, and there was nothing showing … So it was that quick,” said deputy fire chief Bob Cannon.

After the source of the smoke was identified, crews removed the five other trucks in the station before extinguishing the blaze in the ladder truck.

“The damage to the engine compartment and the cab was extensive,” said Cannon.

Afterwards, crew could not move the ladder truck, technically known as a 100-foot aerial apparatus, because the breaks had seized. The fire department called in a specialized hauler from Vancouver that was able to tow the large vehicle. The truck was finally removed Monday morning.

Capt. Mike Schmidt, fire prevention officer, said a malfunctioning engine block heater was the cause.

The truck is 17 years old and in excellent shape, but the amount of damage won’t be known until ICBC finishes its investigation and assessment.

“It’s the first time this has ever happened to us,” said Schmidt.

In the meantime, Abbotsford and Maple Ridge fire services are on standby for Mission should the city require a ladder truck.

“Everything else is back in service and ready to respond to any call,” said Cannon.

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