2015-06-12 / Front Page

Fire truck crashes on way to accident

Ledger Staff Writer

The accident occurred just outside the Goucher-White Plains Volunteer Fire Department station. The accident occurred just outside the Goucher-White Plains Volunteer Fire Department station. Four people were sent to area hospitals after a Goucher- White Plains fire truck responding to a traffic accident was involved in an accident directly in front of its station Wednesday morning.

“As firefighters we always want to help others, so we deeply regret the accident and our prayers and support go out to those involved,” said Goucher-White Plains Fire Chief Jimmy Lamb. “It is a reminder of just how quickly accidents can happen.”

The incident occurred at approximately 7 a.m. Wednesday as the Goucher-White Plains Volunteer Fire Department was responding to an accident on Pacolet Highway.

With two volunteer firefighters aboard, the truck was leaving the station on Goucher School Road, making a left turn, when it drove into the path of a 2001 Ford van headed west on Goucher School Road.

Lance Cpl. Gary Miller of the South Carolina Highway Patrol said there were four people in the van, including two unbelted passengers in its cargo section.

The van driver, John Kevin Rochester Sr., 42, of Pacolet, and two of the passengers were taken to Mary Black Health System —Gaffney, Miller said, while the fourth occupant of the van, Thomas E. Miller, 46, of Pacolet, was taken to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.

The volunteer firefighter who was driving the truck was ticketed for failure to yield the right of way, Miller said.

Lamb said the volunteer who was behind the wheel was “beating himself up pretty good” over the incident.

“As soon as the accident happened, both of the firefighters immediately got out of the truck and started rendering aid to the occupants of the other vehicle,” he said.

Lamb believed the 1987 fire truck involved in the accident, the department’s reserve Engine 83, was likely totaled. “It has pretty significant damage to the cab and it appears as though there may be some damage to the frame, which could total the truck, especially because of its age,” he said.

An insurance company representative was set to come out and look at the truck, Lamb said.

The truck was running the call Wednesday since the department’s primary fire engine, Engine 82, a 1990 model was out of service for mechanical problems. The accident left Goucher-White Plains Fire Department with no fire engine available Wednesday and Thursday, though it still had brush, tanker and rescue trucks at its disposal and offers of assistance from surrounding fire departments if needed. Lamb expected Engine 82 would be placed back in service some time Friday.

The three occupants of the van who were taken to the hospital in Gaffney were treated and released after a few hours, Lamb said. The passenger who was taken to Spartanburg reportedly was still in the hospital Thursday.

The two volunteer firefighters involved in the incident also suffered some injuries, Lamb said, and will miss a few days of work from their full-time jobs.

Corinth Volunteer Fire Department picked up the call for the traffic accident to which the Goucher- White Plains department had originally been dispatched.

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