By Clint Parker
Upper Flat Creek – Several fire department vehicles are stranded after a private bridge off on Upper Flat Creek Road collapsed while a fire department truck was crossing it. The incident happened after several fire departments responded to a house fire around 12:47 am on Sunday. The home, which was a cabin, was a total loss.
Currently, seven fire vehicles are stranded on the other side of the bridge and one, a Reynolds Fire Department four-wheel drive truck is partly on the collapsed bridge. Weaverville Fire Department has five vehicles trapped, while Reems Creek Fire Department has two. No one in the fire truck was injured. One person from the house fire was transported to the hospital with burns.
According to Weaverville Fire Chief Ted Williams, who was on the scene Sunday morning while efforts were underway to remove the vehicle from its precarious position on the fallen bridge were still underway, his fire department was the lead department on the call.
Williams tells the Tribune the home was located about three-quarters of a mile up the road from the bridge and on a very steep driveway. After fire department personnel decided additional four-wheeled vehicles were needed a call went out and one of those responding was the truck from Reynolds Fire Department.
Firefighters were having to use tanker trucks to get water to the fire. The Reynolds truck, which was about to make its first run up to the fire, was almost across the bridge when it fell. Williams said heavier trucks had been across the bridge. The Reynolds truck just happened to be on the bridge when it fell. After the bridge fell, firefighters backed tankers up to one side of the fallen bridge, pumped water across, using a hose, to the other side and into another truck, The water was then driven up to the fire.
Reems Creek Fire Chief Jeff Justice, who was also on the scene Sunday morning, said that he had Asheville Fire Department personnel at his station helping to cover the district. Williams said Asheville and West Buncombe were helping to cover the Weaverville District.
Chief Justice said they did not know how long it would be before the stranded vehicles could be freed from the cut-off driveway. Truck loads of gravel were being brought in about 10:30 am while the Tribune was on the scene.