Hinesburg fire truck

The front end of the Hinesburg Fire Department’s primary fire truck was damaged after a close call on an icy road Sunday morning.

On Sunday, just before 9 a.m., the Hinesburg Fire Department pulled out of the station on a call about a wreck on Route 116 about a mile and a half north of town.

When the fire truck left the station, the roads weren’t great but there wasn’t black ice, fire chief Nick Baker said.

That situation changed after the truck with four firefighters aboard passed CVU Road.

“As they’re passing Place Road West, they were going down a hill that slopes to the left and they encountered some flash freezing and glare ice,” Baker said.

They lost the ability to steer and when they tried to break the fire truck hit the guardrail and slid along it for about 100 feet. When the truck came off the guardrail, with a combination of luck and experienced driving skills, the driver was able to stop the truck on the side of the road. The truck slid for a total of about 500 feet.

Baker said no one was hurt.

Several cars slid off the road nearby about that same time. One slid off the road on Route 116 at CVU Road, while another slid off the road just before Place Road, went into a ditch and overturned.

“They really experienced true flash freezing conditions,” Baker said.

Flash freezing occurs when the ground is so cold that everything suddenly freezes, creating black ice.

The Hinesburg fire truck got to within a half mile from the crash it was going to. Richmond Fire and Rescue responders evaluated the occupant of the vehicle on scene.

Baker said it was fortunate an experienced officer was driving the fire engine. “He did a good job of keeping it upright, keeping it in the road and everyone got home safe.”

Baker said the truck will be out of service for at least a few months, but said it was too soon to estimate damages and whether it can be repaired locally or will need to be taken by flatbed to the manufacturing plant in Florida.

The department has a spare truck, but Baker is putting out feelers to Hinesburg’s mutual aid partners to see if there are any departments with a fire truck to spare.

“Sometimes, the dealer might have a spare they took on trade that would be available to loan,” Baker said.

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