Firetruck rolls off icy road in Zeeland Twp.

ZEELAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Icy roads claimed a Zeeland Township fire truck Thursday morning.

The truck was responding to another crash when it rolled into the ditch at 72nd Avenue and Chicago Drive.

The Ottawa County Sheriff says that driver of the firetruck received stitches and two other firefighters who were on board suffered minor injuries.

"We were all driving very, very carefully conservatively because of the ice, but as they came down the hill and the engine downshifted, the truck broke loose of the roadway and started coming around and they went into the ditch," said Tom Jekel, deputy chief with the Zeeland Township Fire Department.

Jekel says their aerial truck would cost between $600,000 and $700,000 to replace. Meanwhile, neighboring fire department chiefs tell FOX 17 they will be helping Zeeland Township Fire to recover and respond to calls.

Fire Chief Duane Miedema of Jamestown Township Fire Department tells FOX 17 they will lend their reserve fire engine to Zeeland Township, though says this is not a direct replacement for what they lost.

Blendon Township Fire Chief Kurt Gernaat says he's offering help though does not have extra equipment. And Zeeland Fire Chief Nick Bonstell says they will be assisting the township with their calls saying they already assist each other, which is the spirit of firefighting to begin with. Other than anticipating a few more calls this year, Bonstell doesn't expect this to be more than the neighboring departments already do for each other.

Elsewhere in the Zeeland area, the eastbound lanes of I-196 were closed at Byron Road after a car and a semi collided around 4:30 a.m. Crews managed to open one lane eastbound around 6 a.m., but the westbound lanes needed to be closed at that time to allow for removal of the semi. The westbound lanes were reopened around 6:40 a.m.

Earlier, two semi's jackknifed in icy conditions on westbound I-96 at mile 20 in Wright Township just before 4 a.m. That crash closed the westbound lanes until the scene was cleared around 6:15 a.m.

There were plenty of slide-offs. rollovers, and crashes, but the number of incidents on the roads was greatly reduced by 8 a.m.

Meanwhile Thursday the Battle Creek Fire Department posted prayers for a speedy recovery for the Zeeland Township firefighters to Facebook. Last January they suffered a similar crash, as their crew was en route to a call, their truck hit ice and rolled; their firefighters kicked through the truck's windshield to escape safely.

"We are sending our thoughts to the Zeeland Township Fire Department this morning. One of their fire trucks rolled into a ditch this morning enroute to a call, and several of their firefighters were injured. Believe us when we say we know how you must be feeling. It was almost exactly one year ago (1/10/2016) that we were in the same situation when our Rescue 6 rolled on an icy patch while enroute to a fire. We send prayers to your firefighters for a speedy recovery from their injuries."

 

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