Town of Union sues repair shop after firetruck consumed by flames

Posted Nov. 15, 2012, at 12:39 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 15, 2012, at 6:21 p.m.

UNION, Maine — The town is suing a local auto repair shop, claiming its negligence led to one of Union’s firetrucks being destroyed by fire earlier this year.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Knox County Superior Court by Union against Stone’s Auto/Truck Service LLC of Appleton and its owner David Stone.

The town’s 1989 Freightliner tanker had its engine overhauled and other repairs done at the business in the latter part of 2011 — work that David Stone said would extend the life of the truck by 10 years, according to the lawsuit.

The truck was placed back into service Nov. 18, 2011, after the repairs were made. On Dec. 28, while responding to a fire call in neighboring Washington, an abnormal sound was heard from the truck’s engine, according to the suit. The truck was taken back to the station. Stone inspected the truck the next day but could not determine the problem, the suit states.

The town claims in its lawsuit that Stone called the Fire Department on Jan. 16 and asked that the truck be brought over to the garage so that he could check out the vehicle.

On the way to the garage on Jan. 16, Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Soule heard a very loud noise from the engine. He immediately pulled the vehicle over to the side of the road and got out of the truck.

The vehicle’s engine caught fire, and the entire truck soon was engulfed in flames.

The truck was a total loss. No dollar figure is included in the lawsuit in terms of money being sought.

The town has since replaced the firetruck.

The lawsuit claims that the repairs were faulty and that Stone passed the vehicle for state inspection when it should have been rejected.

“Defendants knew that that the town of Union needed the fire truck to put out fires, to ensure the safety of the town of Union’s citizens, and for the transportation of town of Union firefighters on public ways,” the lawsuit states in its negligence claim against Stone and his business.

The town is represented by attorneys Jonathan Brogan and Kelly Hoffman of Portland.

Stone said Thursday he had no comment on the lawsuit.

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