The McMinnville Fire Department may never have another custom-built emergency vehicle like the one that crashed today. The vehicle, which few regional fire departments own, took months to build by a South Carolina-based company, American LaFrance Fire Engine Co. It cost $200,000 in 2000 and served as both an ambulance and rescue vehicle, carrying heavy-duty tools and 300 gallons of water.
Early today, on the way to an emergency call, the vehicle veered off a two-lane county road, rolled twice and was totaled. The driver, Teri Apodaca-Stonebarger, 46, of Carlton, and her passenger, 38-year-old John K. Gephart of McMinnville, were not injured.
Fire Chief Rich Leipfert said the accident was a blow. "We have a variety of other ambulances, but this has a special design, and it's the only one that we have," he said.