The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into whether the repair made to 156 fire trucks recalled in 2013 adequately fixed the problem with the trucks’ aerial ladders, which can unexpectedly fall.
Late last year Sutphen Corp. recalled 156 aerial platform trucks from model years 2000 through 2011 because the ladder could retract unexpectedly, according to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Columbus Dispatch reports. The company initiated another recall last week, hours after three Georgia firefighters were injured during a training session when a five-section ladder unexpectedly retracted more than 20 feet before it jammed. The firefighters were in the bucket atop the ladder of the 2006 Sutphen engine. In June, three Pennsylvania firefighters were injured during a rapid descent of their aerial platform on a 2010 Sutphen truck. Since these injuries occurred after the trucks had been repaired in the 2013 recall, NHTSA is investigating “the adequacy of the recall remedy.”
The NHTSA investigation includes trucks from the 2000 to 2012 model years made by Ohio-based Sutphen Corp. In a statement on the company web site, company president Drew Sutphen advised fire departments not to use the recalled ladders until further notice. The letter said the company has “voluntarily removed all 5-Section Aerial Devices (SPH 100, SP 110, SPI 112, and SAI 110) from service” and is undertaking a thorough review of the equipment and the 2013 remedy.
According to documents filed with NHTSA in last year’s recall, ball bearings could seize, causing the cables running over them to chafe and fail. Last week’s recall included the same four models involved in the 2013 recall.