‘Very concerning:’ Records show 1/3 of Atlanta Fire Department’s extension ladders do not work

ATLANTA — Channel 2 Action News has learned there is a problem with a number of Atlanta’s fire trucks. The city says seven of 20 extension ladder trucks don’t work right now.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston started looking into this story a month ago when he first heard there was a problem with extension ladders.

Since then, some city leaders have started calling for answers.

“It is very concerning,” said Atlanta City Councilman Dustin Hillis.

Huddleston met with Hillis outside the site of a recent house fire in the city.

“There was a firefighter from Station 22 that was injured in this fire,” Hillis said.

The fire destroyed the abandoned home. The house next door and even the woods behind the house caught on fire.

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Hillis told Huddleston that firefighters tried to use an extension ladder to fight the fire, but it wasn’t working.

“The nozzle that’s on top of that ladder does not work, so they could not defensibly fight the fire from above, which is usually the protocol,” Hillis said.

Through an open records request, Huddleston learned the city has 20 fire trucks with extension ladders. But on seven of the trucks, the extension ladders don’t work.

The city’s fire department spokesman Sgt. Cortez Stafford said the trucks get a lot of wear and tear, and at no time are citizens in danger from a truck that is out of service.

“We do understand that we do have units out of service, but it’s important to remember and also to remind the public that at no point is their safety jeopardized, that we won’t not respond to an incident,” Stafford said.

“If you spend $1.2 million on a fire apparatus, you expect it to be up to the challenge and not have these mechanical issues,” Hillis said.

Hillis said he wants a record of how many fire trucks are in need of repair by the next public safety meeting.

Stafford said of the 20 trucks, only 14 are used at a time, so some of those not working are already out of circulation.