Fire truck wreck costs taxpayers over half a million dollars

Habersham County taxpayers will have to foot the bill for a fire truck that burned in an accident last month. The county’s insurance company totaled the truck. The replacement cost for the 2003 E-One Typhoon is right at $687,500.

The fiery crash on June 2 happened on Camp Creek Road directly in front of Fire Station 14 in Mt. Airy. According to an internal investigation, firefighter David Thompson was driving the truck, turning into the station, when he pulled into the path of an oncoming pickup truck.

Both vehicles caught fire. Video from the scene shows the vehicles burning as medics and other personnel at the station check on the drivers. The fire truck burned for 1 minute 42 seconds before firefighters extinguished the flames with water and dry chemicals.

21-year-old George Hames was driving the Ford F-150. The wreck and fire left his truck visibly totaled.

$1.3 million for new fire trucks

Habersham County Emergency Services Director Jeff Adams tells Now Habersham that the insurance company has agreed to pay $48,000 on the county’s claim for the totaled fire truck. The county will apply that money to the cost of the replacement truck.

The county is also buying an additional fire truck.

Adams says details are being worked out now for the purchase of those two fire trucks, both of which are included in the budget. The total cost is around $1,375,000. Payments will be stretched out over five years. The county will pay $275,000 per year out of its Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

“The price of fire engines has risen significantly over the past couple of years and is still going up,” Adams tells Now Habersham.

It’s unclear at this point how much the county may have to pay Hames to settle any claims he may have filed since Thompson admitted he was at fault. Now Habersham asked the county clerk and human resources director for that information. They forwarded our request to the county attorney, who has not yet responded.

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