Herald JournalHerald Journal, Aug. 11, 2003

Fire starts in fire truck

By Ryan Gueningsman

A fire at Jerry's Transmission Tuesday morning ironically started in a fire truck that was having its final touches put on it.

The Lester Prairie Fire Department's new tanker truck was in the remount bay at Jerry's, being worked on, and was severely damaged by fire at 6:13 a.m.

Owner Jerry Pawelk was in the shop early that morning, checking the connections on the new tanker, when he left momentarily.

"Something must have fell in there and caused a spark," Pawelk said. The fire started in the dash area of the truck and spread throughout the bay.

The Winsted and New Germany fire departments were called for additional manpower, said Lester Prairie Fire Chief Jim Hoof. Plato was called to bring more water, and Glencoe to bring the county air van, which is used to re-fill oxygen tanks.

The fire was contained to the remount shop, located in the southern part of the building.

"Luckily, there was a firewall there that kept it out of other parts of the shop," Hoof said. The office area and main repair shop were not damaged.

"We're always really careful," Pawelk said. "This is something I didn't think would ever happen here."

The fire department has had the tanker for about a year and a half, and was being worked on "when he had the time, and we had the money," Hoof said. It was set to be finished that evening. The chassis of the truck is totaled, and will be replaced. The tank and rest of the truck will be repainted.

A busy morning

Earlier that same morning at 1:52 a.m., the Lester Prairie Fire Department responded to an accident at the intersection of 190th Street and Babcock Avenue, just north of Lester Prairie.

A 1992 Lumina being driven by Bryan Winter, 22, of Glencoe hit a power pole. Winter was transported by ambulance to the Waconia Hospital for injuries sustained.

His vehicle received more than $1,000 in damages.

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