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3 firefighters injured after truck's ladder falls

POSTED: July 22, 2014 4:28 p.m.

GAINESVILLE — Three Hall County firefighters suffered injuries Tuesday afternoon when a fire truck ladder malfunctioned during a training session.

All three were in stable condition, Hall County Fire Marshal Scott Cagle said.

William Griffin was taken by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, according to hospital officials. TJ Elliott and Stephen Jackson were airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

The injuries occurred while the three men were in the bucket atop the ladder. The three firefighters were participating in a training session on Allen Creek Road when the bucket made a sudden drop. The reason for the ladder’s malfunction is unknown at this time.

“It free fell about 20 feet,” Cagle said.

The men were immediately extricated from the bucket and transported for medical attention

Griffin was treated at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in the emergency room and is in “fair” condition, according to hospital officials.

No information was available on Elliott’s and Jackson’s conditions, according to Grady officials.

The ladder failure has caused the manufacturer to request departments put certain aerials out of service immediately, according to WXIA-TV.

Following the incident, Sutphen Corp. announced departments should remove all "SPH 100, SP 110, SPI 112, and SAI 110 Aerial devices from service, until further notice, effective immediately."

“At this time, our priority is the safety of our firefighters,” said President Drew Sutphen said in a statement posted on the company website. “In light of the recent incidents, we recognize there is an immediate need to take precautionary action.  I would rather take every precaution necessary than to put firefighters at risk.”

The company will be contacting customers with the affected units personally to inform them of the events that have occurred and the steps that are being taken to get the units back in to service in a timely manner.

“We feel the need to personally assure our customers that we are working to investigate and correct the situation,” he added.



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