Firefighting Equipment Damaged by Motorists

What started as a response to reports of a structure fire turned into a search for two vehicles whose drivers refused to wait at a traffic stop and damaged city-owned firefighting equipment as they ignored the roadblock.

“It was a report of a structure fire, but that turned out to be nothing,” said Wheeling Assistant Fire Chief Tony Campbell. “It’s best to err on the side of caution, though.”

While firefighters searched the building for any signs of fire, a section of W.Va. 2 was closed for about 15 minutes. Campbell said he was aware that some people were commuting to work at that time.

“Nobody actually leaves on time, so everyone’s in a hurry,” Campbell said, adding that being in a hurry is no excuse for breaking the law. “Patience is a virtue.”

Two drivers reportedly ignored the road block and ran over fire hoses as they moved through the emergency zone. One of them was driving a tractor-trailer and the other a pickup truck, officials said.

“When they run over the hose, we have to put it out of service,” Campbell said. “It costs $1,000 per section of hose to be replaced. Fortunately, the Division of Highways and police were on hand to apprehend the suspects.”

As firefighters left the area, law enforcement officials began the search for the two vehicles that had run over the hose. The semi truck was located, but the search continues for the pickup truck. Anyone with information on the pickup truck’s whereabouts is encouraged to report it to law enforcement officials.