NORMAL — If a fire truck catches on fire, is it irony or coincidence?
Either way, the town of Normal is going to have to replace Engine 15, a 13-year-old fire truck that was destroyed by fire Wednesday on Interstate 74 while returning to Normal following repairs at the Alexis Fire Equipment Co., Alexis.
“The replacement cost of that vehicle would be about $525,000 to $550,000 if we were to do that today,” said Normal City Manager Mark Peterson.
The vehicle is insured and officials started the process of filing the claim Thursday, but it is not yet known how long it will take to replace it. Fire Chief Mick Humer was out of the office this week and could not be reached for comment.
The fire was not believed to be related to the refurbishment work, but the cause remains under investigation, fire department officials said.
“It looked like it may have started near one of the rear wheels, so maybe a brake or tire issues,” said Assistant Fire Chief Doug Barnett. “We’re going to miss it.”
Three Normal firefighters were at the scene and attempted to put out the fire, which happened about 10 a.m. on eastbound I-74 near Knoxville.
The truck was being used as a reserve unit and was not carrying firefighting equipment.
Officials with the fire apparatus manufacturer and repair facility in Alexis, about 15 miles northeast of Galesburg, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
The truck was hauled on a flatbed trailer back to the business.