Denison city officials address absent ladder truck at Main Street fire

By  | 

DENISON, Tex. (KXII) - Denison Fire Chief Gregg Loyd told city council Monday morning the department's ladder truck was in a repair shop getting maintenance on the day of the fire that took down two buildings on Main Street.

"I think many properties could have been saved with a ladder truck if it had been dispatched right away from Denison," said Jay Connelly, who used to own 317 West Main Street.

Connelly told Denison City Council Monday morning he got a text shortly after the fire started and watched the building crumble to the ground.

"That should be my that should be priority one of our council, our city to rent a ladder truck or lease a ladder truck 'til that ladder truck is done. If that happens today again, we're in trouble again," said Connelly.

Loyd said the ladder on the city's ladder truck had mechanical problems, causing them to call on other ladder trucks nearby.

He said because the walls of the burning building could collapse, it was unsafe for firefighters to go in the building.

He said if they had a ladder truck when the fire started, it would have had a "beneficial impact".

"Oftentimes the roof burns through pretty quickly. When that happens when you have aerial support you can get water directly on the fire. That's the key, the key to this was trying to find places to put water directly on the fire," said Loyd.

The Denison Fire Department ordered a new ladder truck last October. Loyd said it takes over a year for a new one to be constructed.

A city spokesperson said a new ladder truck costs $1.4 million and comes from the city's general fund.

In the meantime, the fire department will put up braces on the facades of the two buildings to the west of 317 West Main Street to make sure they are safe to enter.

The exact cause of the fire has not been determined.

"If you don't learn from your mistakes, then you'll never learn. I think there was a mistake made that day," said Connelly.

Loyd said the fire department expects to get their new ladder truck in December.