Runaway Engine Stops Rescue Truck in its Tracks

By Jeremy Coumbes on October 12, 2022 at 2:16pm

Traffic was blocked for a short time this morning after crews from both the South Jacksonville and Jacksonville fire departments responded to a call of a fire truck- that was on fire.

The Jacksonville Fire Department rescue unit went up in smoke in the middle of South Main Street just south of Michigan Avenue around 10:00 this morning.

Jacksonville Fire chief Doug Sills says firefighters were delivering fire prevention materials to the schools this morning for fire prevention month when the Jacksonville EMS rescue truck suffered a runaway engine.

Sills says a runaway engine happens with diesel-powered vehicles when the engine revs to high RPMs and cannot be controlled easily ending in engine failure. Smoke could be seen billowing from the engine compartment when the truck stopped and the hood was opened.

The Jacksonville rescue truck has been tapped to be replaced soon, however, supply chain issues have caused delays in the Jacksonville Fire Department being able to acquire a new chassis cab truck for use as the new rescue EMS vehicle.

Last month the Jacksonville City Council approved funding for the new truck a second time. Chief Doug Sills says the department benefited from what he calls a supply chain issue in reverse, in that a chassis cab became available sooner than expected in the ordering process and the new truck is scheduled to be delivered in early 2023.

Until the new unit became available, the Jacksonville Fire Department’s order was not expected to be available until late 2023, putting the purchase into the 2024 fiscal year.

Earlier this year the council approved placing the order to purchase the new unit, and the second approval allowed for some of the vehicle’s costs to be paid for out of the current fiscal year.

Sills says as of now, his department is not looking to repair the existing truck, and in the meantime, a reserve unit has been placed into service to provide uninterrupted medical service to the community.