Officials: Speed caused fire truck to overturn, injuring 4 firefighters

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Four Charlotte firefighters were injured on Thursday morning when their fire truck overturned in a Ballantyne neighborhood near the state line.

The following Tuesday, officials said that speed caused the accident.

The incident was reported at 8:21 a.m. on Ardrey Kell Road where it changes into Bridgehampton Club Drive as it crosses into South Carolina.

The fire truck, identified as Ladder 32, was being driven by Mark Staker. Fire officials say it was responding to a medical call in the neighborhood.

No charges are being filed, but Staker's driving duties were rescinded, pending further investigation.

The truck, which officials said was purchased for $800,000, was on its roof and the cab was on fire.

Skidmarks could be seen on Ardrey Kell Road and end at the corner where it flipped.

One of the fireman inside the truck called 911, officials told WBTV.

Another engine quickly arrived on the scene and put out a fire billowing from the underside of the truck.

Medic transported four patients from the scene to Carolinas Medical Center. Tuesday, officials said all four were okay and had since returned to full-duty.

Neighbors say the area where the trunk landed upside down is a school bus stop. No children were at the stop at the time of the crash.

They described hearing the trucks siren, the screeching of tires and a big boom.

Steve Denhof told WBTV he was doing yard work when he heard the crash.
"I was over mowing my lawn this morning, changing out the grass bag, when I heard this explosion. It was kind of a boom then I looked over and saw white smoke and didn't really know what it was."

A witness who saw the accident told WBTV the fire truck was traveling at a high rate of speed.

As part of the board's investigation, they will make recommendations to prevent similar occurrences in the future. In addition, the CFD Accident Review Board will conduct an internal investigation to determine what actions are to be taken regarding the personnel involved in crash.

"The Charlotte Fire Department takes this accident very seriously. An accident like this places lives at risk and is unacceptable," said Fire Chief Jon B. Hannan.

"Our department provides comprehensive Emergency Vehicle Training (EVT) for all personnel required to drive to emergencies. Firefighters face a tremendous amount of obstacles and stress to get to those in crisis as quickly as possible. We will incorporate lessons learned from this incident into future training and work hard to prevent this from happening again."

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