What began as a harmless training exercise for the Oakwood Fire Department, quickly turned into a multi agency effort to recover a truck from the Auglaize River.
Oakwood Fire Chief, Kenny Thomas, received a phone call from some of his firefighters around 11:30AM, when the fire truck they were using rolled into the near by river. Chief Thomas says his crew was down by the river testing equipment that failed the night before.
"We had a large barn fire last night and we were having some issues with the truck drafting water, and we brought it down to the river this morning to see if we could figure out the problem. I'm not sure if the truck jumped in gear, or what happened," said Thomas.
Calling in assistance from the Putnam County Sheriff's office, Sheriff Jim Beutler and two others formed a dive team to help retrieve the truck from the water. While a fire truck is not the usual call for a submerged vehicle, Beutler says it was business as usual,
"...being a big heavy truck it was a first for us as far as pulling a fire truck out of the water. We've pulled a lot of vehicles over the years, but never a fire truck. A little different situation, but these things happen," explained Beutler.
After heavy rains last night, water levels along the river were up, creating a stronger current for the dive team; however, fighting the current was the least of the crew's worries, as they also faced several other difficulties.
"Fuel is always a big problem and it's a hazard to not only the environment, but also to us as divers," said Beutler.
The truck is considered a complete loss for the department, but Chief Thomas assures residents that it will be work as usual for him and his crew, as they make the most out of their four remaining trucks.