By Tia Lynn Ivey
A tragic accident in December of 2018 left one Savannah woman dead, a Morgan County firefighter injured, and a Morgan County Fire truck totaled, which could cost up to $500,000 to replace.
Firefighter Robert Kapp was driving a Morgan County Fire and Rescue (MCFR) Truck while responding to an emergency call on Dec. 18, 2018. While crossing the Main Street intersection at State Route 24 Bypass, he collided with a southbound vehicle, driven by Kimberly Kimmins Ford, 67, a former reporter and news editor of the Franklin Press, who was on her way back home to Savannah. Ford succumbed to her injuries incurred in the crash. Kapp sustained four broken ribs. The Georgia State Patrol (GPS) is in charge of the investigation into the accident, and has turned it over to the Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) to analyze the circumstances surrounding the fatal crash. As of press time on Tuesday, April 16, the investigation into the circumstances of the crash are ongoing.
Since the accident, MCFR formed a truck committee to find a feasible way to replace the fire truck that was totaled in the December crash.
According to MCFR Chief Jeff Stone, a new fire truck could cost anywhere between $300,000 and $500,000.
“It isn’t cheap,” said Stone, who is hoping to purchase a custom truck instead of a commercial truck.
“The commercial trucks are basically converted moving trucks or delivery trucks,” said Stone. “They have a shorter lifespan than the custom trucks which are build from the ground up specifically-designed to handle fire service and all the wear and tear that comes with it. The commercial trucks are sort of generic and not always the best in the world. Custom trucks are much safer.”
According to Stone, commercial trucks typically last 10 to 15 years. A custom truck lasts 25 to 30 years.
“The commercial trucks do the job, take care of the need, but the custom trucks fulfill all the wants. Fiscally, we need to balance the needs and wants in a truck,” said Stone.
The MCFR Truck Committee is currently working on proposals to send to various vendors in order to find the best truck for Morgan County at the best price.
“We are hoping to work with vendors to figure out exactly what we need for a cost we can afford,” said Stone.
Once the MCFR receives cost estimates from various vendors, the Morgan County Board of Commissioners will review the options and make a decision on how best to replace the truck that was lost in December’s accident.