A Plumsteadville Volunteer Fire Co. ladder truck fell onto its side, with the ladder landing on top of a passing car on Route 611 during a Memorial Day celebration, resulting in only minor injuries to the occupants of the car and to two firefighters on the outside of the truck, said Plumstead Police Department spokesman Lt. Richard Frederick.
The fire company was honoring fallen veterans, as it does annually, by displaying an American flag over North Easton Road in front of the fire company substation at the intersection of Ferry Road Monday, when the truck tipped over onto its passenger side as firefighters worked to reposition the flag, Frederick said.
The truck fell with the ladder extended, and the ladder landed on the roof of a passenger vehicle traveling southbound on North Easton Road, Frederick said. Two young men inside the vehicle, one a juvenile, sustained only minor injuries, he said.
They and the two firefighters, who had been standing on the pedestal at the base of the ladder, Frederick said, were treated at Doylestown Hospital and released.
Frederick said the top section of the ladder had to be cut off in order to right the truck. He said the fire company is waiting to hear from its insurance company regarding the extent of the damage to the truck, which has a 1987 chassis. He said the ladder manufacturer is no longer in business.
“It’s very tragic; they were out there trying to do a nice deed, to honor our veterans,”Frederick said. “It’s very tragic, but thank goodness, there were very minor injuries.”
Frederick said he believed the accident was caused by the positioning of the outriggers stabilizing the truck. He said it was his understanding that the position of the stabilizers was sufficient for the original positioning of the truck and ladder, but not for the change being made to the ladder to reposition the flag.
Plumstead police were assisted by fire police from around the area and by PennDOT in closing down the roadway.
Southbound North Easton Road was closed between Silo Hill Road and Sawmill Road and Silo Hill Road to Swamp Road (via Route 611 bypass) prior to 1 p.m., according to a police posting online. Northbound 611 bypass was closed at Swamp Road (Route 313) along with northbound North Easton Road between Sawmill Road and Silo Hill Road. Also closed was Ferry Road between Gordon Road and Silo Hill Road. The roads were reopened at 3:59 p.m., the posting said.
Frederick said Plumsteadville Fire Co. and surrounding fire companies are sufficiently equipped with other vehicles to fight fires in the township. “The residents of Plumstead Township are still secure,” he said.