New River Forest fire engine damaged in viaduct collision

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By Jean Lotus

Forest Park Review Editor

River Forest's new 105-foot "quint" fire truck/engine was damaged Thanksgiving morning around 9 a.m. A driver en route to get fuel miscalculated the height of a viaduct at Central and Keystone and smashed into the bridge.

"There was extensive damage to the truck," confirmed River Forest Fire Chief James Eggert. "It is out of service and going back to manufacturer."

River Forest purchased the fire apparatus this year for $650,000. The truck is a combination pumping engine and ladder truck. The machine has a pump, water tank, fire hose and ground and aerial ladders. The village decided to purchase their own quint after a similar apparatus they shared with the Village of Oak Park was up for replacement.

The height of the bridge in question is 11 feet, according to posted signs. Eggert said the fire truck is 11 feet, 9 inches tall. There are signs posted in the cab with the height of the apparatus, Eggert said. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, Eggert added.

Representatives from Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. in Snyder, Neb., will visit the department this week to assess damage.

Meanwhile, River Forest shares mutual aid agreements with several other neighboring municipalities and will participate in any fire calls with available trucks and engines, Eggert said.

"It looks like this quint is going back to Nebraska for a while," he said.

Reader Comments

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Jack Hansis from Marietta  

Posted: February 27th, 2014 7:50 PM

Don't send out the newbie for fuel. If you drive the big rigs, sooner or later they will get scratched. But this is way more than a scratch.


Posted: December 6th, 2013 5:01 AM

Mr. Grossman is correct. The person ordering the fire truck is responsible for knowing the specs of the truck as well as the height of all relevant viaducts.

Chuck from Rolling Meadows  

Posted: December 5th, 2013 9:40 AM

This has nothing to do with fuel, where gas is purchased or where the vehicle was headed. It is an issue of driver error and lack of training. Keep cutting training budgets and see what happens?

Leonard Grossman from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: December 4th, 2013 11:42 AM

Somehow, one would think any fire engine purchased by the village would be configured to be able to get anywhere in town (and into any local communities with which may need help) without the need to worry about fitting.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2013 6:41 PM

If the driver was headed to refuel at the Village garage that was not mentioned in the report. I just wondered where he was headed.


Posted: December 3rd, 2013 4:26 PM

@Jim Coughlin, ever think that the village might have gas pumps at their village garage, which if I am correct, is on the south side of town? Also, for what it is worth, RF also has a gas station at Harlem & North. Yeah, they should re-fuel all village vehicles at Chicago & Harlem, that makes a ton of sense. Their dump trucks/plows/fire trucks/public works vehicles.... Please step away from your keyboard!

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 3rd, 2013 1:44 PM

Where was the driver headed? I think River Forest has only 1 gas station and that's located at Harlem and Chicago. Fuel purchase for all Village owned vehicles should be made in town or River Forest officials should seek to refuel at the Oak Park Public Works center.

Gary S from River Forest  

Posted: December 3rd, 2013 1:31 PM

If the driver(s) were instructed what routes they are to take when going to a destination and chose to take a low cut (not short) then doc their pay for the next 1,000 years to pay for the damage. Were any pigeons injured under the bridge? Any chance to get the railroad to pay for the repairs or minimally a new paint job?

Pauline Coffman from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2013 11:58 AM

There was a similar collision last night at Oak Park Avenue and South Blvd...a rental truck miscalculated!

Bonehead from RF  

Posted: December 3rd, 2013 7:48 AM

This will capture the headlines but the RF fire sprinkler ordinance has devalued homes in this village by a larger sum. Did the frenzied enforcement of this overreaching residential building code help take eyes off the ball?? I'm fond of this town. I'm glad no one was hurt, but the sprinker issue deserves attention.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 3rd, 2013 12:57 AM

@wondering, WJ has an online presence, but it's still a weekly newspaper. The accident happened on a holiday, over a four-day weekend. The link was to a blog. It may have tipped off WJ to the story, but then they have to verify it, get quotes from those involved, then actually write the piece. So posting at 12:25 Monday seems like a pretty respectable turnaround.

Jack from Oak Park from Oak Park  

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 11:28 PM

I'm obviously no fire prevention expert but I'd think anyone driving the fire truck should have a clear idea before they leave the station how to get anywhere in the village. Good thing they weren't going to a fire.

wondering from rf  

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 10:27 PM

why did it take so long for wednesday journal to report this? I am guessing they only knew b/c someone posted link to it in the comment section in another story, just a hunch. Too bad (being serious) for the poor guy driving, there is probably more to the story, unfortunately this is a very costly accident. Hopefully this was insured vs. self insured, but who knows. Sure as heck that someone is getting their rear chewed out, but at the end of the day, no one was hurt (we hope).

Fireman Small from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 8:48 PM

Stop, drop, and let the air out of the tires. Looks like the south side will not get any fire protection. Well done, Smedley.

Chappy Jennings from Oak Park  

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 7:43 PM

Ya hey der! I'm from River Forest!

Jonas Talandis from River Forest  

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 6:58 PM

Why does RF buy a 11'10" Fire Truck when the viaduct nearest the fire station is 11'? This is an insane misappropriation of our tax dollars!


Posted: December 2nd, 2013 6:39 PM

I read somewhere that by code these fire trucks have in plane view of the driver's interior position a sticker stating the clearance of their vehicle. This is in the category of "We've never lost a chimney."

Jim from RF  

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 6:37 PM

I'd like to know what gas station he was going to? Lake + 1st there's no viaducts. Reminds me of the Italian ship that went aground off the coast of Italy.


Posted: December 2nd, 2013 4:46 PM

too funny


Posted: December 2nd, 2013 4:34 PM

Looks like Lathrop and Harlem are the only options N-S. Even the bridge over Chicago is too low.

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 1:47 PM

Did the driver think the big yellow and black sign read 11'10" instead of 11'0"? Wow, sad it happened, especially since it was a brand spankin' new truck, and RF's own truck since the 1980s.

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