The Paper photos by Abbey Bullerdick
A fire and several explosions, expected to be from tires and fuel tanks, destroyed most of the truck barn at the Montgomery County Highway Department Sunday. The fleet of 13 plow trucks, among other equipment was expected to be completely lost in the fire.
The Paper photos by Abbey Bullerdick A fire and several explosions, expected to be from tires and fuel tanks, destroyed most of the truck barn at the Montgomery County Highway Department Sunday. The fleet of 13 plow trucks, among other equipment was expected to be completely lost in the fire.
Montgomery County is going to have to scramble to replace its fleet of snow-plow trucks after a fire late Sunday destroyed most of the truck barn. The fire started sometime Sunday evening at the truck barn of the Montgomery County Highway Department on Whitlock Avenue in Crawfordsville. No one was on site or hurt, according to Highway Director Rod Jenkins, but 13 trucks used to plow snow were expected to be total losses.
Jenkins said that there was a supply of new tires, a bucket truck and a two-ton utility truck were also lost in the fire in addition to the 13 plow trucks. The county recently purchased two new trucks at a cost well over $200,000 per. Those have yet to arrive.
“Anything that we use daily was in that building,” Jenkins said. “We had a couple old ones that were sitting outside but all the good ones were in the building.”
Jenkins said that the county was already spread thin on trucks and the 13 they had provided just enough to provide the level of service they need to provide.
With winter looming, and predicted to be nasty, county officials were already working to explore options for snow removal in the county. Montgomery County Commissioner Terry Hockersmith was on scene and said that the county will have to explore all options to make it through winter.
“I talked to one of our insurance agents to get in the network and see what we could lease for this winter because it’s a process to get a truck,” Hockersmith said. “We’re going to explore all possibilities – we’ll have to. The first snow is due in three weeks. We’re going to have to hustle.”
Units were dispatched just after 8 p.m. and some local residents reported hearing explosions. Assistant Fire Chief Jim Fulwider said that the noises were likely the large truck tires blowing. Fulwider said that they weren’t sure what started the fire as they were still trying to get the fire completely out at the time of publication. Jenkins added that the noises could have been fuel tanks or hydraulic tanks as well.
No one knew what caused the initial fire. Detective Aaron Mattingly of the Crawfordsville Police Department will work the investigation with help from the state Fire Marshal. Units from the Crawfordsville Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff Department, Crawfordsville Fire Department and the Emergency Management Agency were all on scene to assist.