The Columbia Fire Department is assessing the damage to one of its fire trucks after rain-slickened roads sent it into a ditch on Sumrall Road June 25.
Capt. Reggie Crowther, who was driving the truck, said they had just responded to a call of a pine tree that had fallen across Church Street after a band of late-afternoon thunderstorms came through.
After clearing Church Street with help from the Street Department, the firefighters headed to another call of a tree across National Guard Road.
As the truck climbed up the hill just past the four-way stop at Church Street and Sumrall Road, Crowther said he could feel the tail end slipping. It was carrying 1,000 gallons of water, adding to the weight.
Crowther said he tried to steer it back into the road but could feel the back end turning when he tried to do so, leaving him no option but to head toward the ditch because the truck would have spun otherwise.
“I straightened up, and I just had to ride the ditch out,” he said. “I brought it to a rest right in that hole.”
Crowther said he and the only other firefighter in the truck at the time, Dalton Viniard, escaped with just bumps and bruises.
Fire Chief Jeff McKenzie said the truck has extensive damage, including to its front end and where it hit a light pole on the side. However, the truck did crank and run for about 30 minutes after the wreck, Crowther said. He said Mayor Justin McKenzie was going to look at the truck and determine how to proceed with repairs.