Revelstoke Highway Rescue is looking at buying a new truck after its old vehicle was put out of commission indefinitely in a crash before Christmas.
“The truck has sustained severe drive train damage,” said Fire Chief Rob Girard. “As an example, right now the transmission on the truck is being held up by a strap. There’s frame twisting. The body is completely out of alignment.
“To repair it is probably equal to the value of what the truck is at this point.”
Girard estimated the damage ranged between $60,000–$80,000 and said the truck was only worth slightly more than that.
“Looking at the damage and what it would be to replace the truck and what the value of it is, we’re most likely looking at replacing it,” he said.
The truck only had comprehensive insurance, which covers damage from things like rocks, hail, or animals, but did not have collision insurance, which covers damage from crashes, said Tim Palmer, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer.
“The preliminary information that I have is that our insurance policy only covers comprehensive damage for vehicles older than 10 years,” he wrote in an e-mail. “The damaged rescue truck was 2000 model year. Collision is not covered.”
He said the lack of insurance was a concern for him and added he will be looking at the insurance policies on the city’s entire fleet of vehicles.
Randy Driediger of RCU Insurance said that some big insurance carriers, such as governments will make blanket decisions to not have collision insurance on vehicles more than 10-years-old.
“The problem in this case is even though it’s over 10 years old, they probably didn’t take into consideration the value of the vehicle,” he said.
Girard said the fire department is looking for a permanent solution, but for now highway rescue calls will happen in a leased truck. He said they would be in contact with Emergency Management BC to discuss financing the purchase of a new truck.
“98 per cent of the time we use it, we’re out on the highway,” he said. “It’s a provincial responsibility.”
Rescue One was damaged after hitting some black ice and skidding off the Trans-Canada Highway on Dec. 20. There were no injuries to the six firefighters on board, but the truck experienced severe damage, said Girard.
While the truck was down, Revelstoke Highway Rescue was restricted to operating in the Revelstoke area. Eagle Valley Rescue, the Golden fire department and Mica Fire Rescue handled highway calls normally serviced by Revelstoke.
Highway rescue resumed service on December 30 after highway rescue volunteers were trained on a leased vehicle.
Girard said five calls came in during the downtime. Four were handled by Eagle Valley and the other by Golden.
“Generally these were accidents where people were able to walk away from the vehicle,” he said. “We were fortunate in that regard.”