Saturday, 2:15 PM
Brake problems surface on another fire truck
By Donovan Slack, Globe staff
An Allston garage found major brake problems on another Boston firetruck this morning and the city immediately took Ladder 14 out of service, city officials said.
The brake inspection by Arcand Springs on Brighton Avenue was the first performed under orders from Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser, who commissioned the garage to inspect brake systems all 57 firetrucks in the city fleet after a fatal ladder truck crash Friday.
Ladder 26 was returning from a routine medical call at about 2:30 p.m. when the driver apparently lost control of the rig on a steep hill and crashed into a building on Huntington Avenue in the city's Mission Hill neighborhood. Fire Lieutenant Kevin M. Kelley died instantly in the crash. Three other firefighters were injured.
Investigators believe catastrophic brake failure may have caused the accident, prompting the commissioner to order the brake inspections.
Mechanics at Arcand Springs determined this morning that Ladder 14, which is headquartered in Allston, has "linkage problems" that require immediate repair, city officials said.
Ladder 14 is a 1992 E-One truck with a 110-foot ladder and four-door cab, the same type and make as the truck involved in Friday's crash.
The new brake problem was discovered a day after the Boston Firefighters Union blamed Kelley's death on the fire department's failure to replace aging vehicles and called on the state to inspect the city's fleet of ladder trucks and engines.
Local 718 president Edward Kelly said at an news conference on Sunday that a ladder truck crashed into a parked car outside fire department headquarters yesterday morning, the third time a Boston firefighter has lost control of a vehicle and crashed in less than two weeks.
In addition to Friday's fatal crash, a ladder truck crashed into a parked car outside fire department headquarters Sunday morning and the driver of another ladder truck lost control of his vehicle on Jan.1 and crashed into a fence in Dorchester. No one was injured in the other two accidents.
Kelly said he did not know the precise cause of the incidents but said he was concerned about the frequency of the recent crashes.
"We wanted to focus on Kevin Kelley's life and heroic death but unfortunately the danger to our firefighters is too grave," Kelly said in a news conference, held outside the union's Dorchester headquarters.