St. Louis Fire Truck 2 Blocks From Fire is Missing

Aging firetruck was in the shop for repairs.

Kevin Killeen
August 06, 2018 - 3:17 pm

Kevin Killeen/KMOX

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Kelly Chlanda was grinding some metal at an auto repair shop where he works, when he turned and saw flames leaping 5-feet tall.

The sparks from the grinder had lit some gasoline.

Grabbing a fire extinguisher, Chlanda doused the blaze, then ran two blocks down the street to a city fire house.

But there was no truck. The fire house was empty.

So, he called 911, and firetrucks arrived in a few minutes to finish putting out the fire.

Fire Capt. Garon Mosby says the firetruck that was supposed to be at Engine House No. 9 down the street is 20 years old, and was in the shop for repairs.

"They're at the repair shop," Mosby said. "They would've been obviously the first company assigned to the fire. Truck Nine is one of the pieces of equipment that's 20 years old. We're trying to rotate that last third out of our fleet. It's one of the trucks that would be replaced."

No one was hurt in the fire, and it was put out before the building was heavily damaged.

But Mosby says the timing of the incident is ironic, given Tuesday's referendum on the city ballot, Proposition One, which would in part help pay for new fire trucks.

"I can't tell you how to vote," Mosby said. "That's out of my lane of traffic. What I can tell you is it's very much a real, day in, day out seriousness for the department. A fire a block away and the truck is at the repair shop?  It just kind of all plays in to what we've been saying."