The New Year has gotten off to a less than roaring start for Elon’s municipal leaders, who’ve recently found themselves grappling with some serious casualties in the town’s motor fleet.
Perhaps the most serious blow to the town’s mobility has been the temporary loss of a fire engine, which encountered some maintenance issues on Monday – and ran off the road while it was being hauled off to the repair shop by a tow truck.
This rather twisted turn of events was later related to Elon’s town council during its first meeting of the New Year on Tuesday. That evening, the town’s fire chief Landon Massey recalled that the engine’s run of bad luck began when its driver noticed something wrong with the vehicle’s brakes on the way back from an emergency call Monday morning.
“Everything went fine up to the call,” Massey recounted, “but when they started to leave, they got to the stop sign, and there was something wrong with the brakes.”
The vehicle’s crew eventually called Battleground Tire and Wrecker to bring the three-year-old fire engine in for a tune up. At some point, however, the tow truck driver apparently lost control of his own vehicle and wound up in a ditch – dragging along the town’s fire engine behind him.
Massey conceded that it’s unclear just how much damage the fire engine sustained in this accident.
“Probably all the bolts that attach to the chassis will have to be replaced because they have shifted,” he said. “But right now, it looks like it’s repairable, and once we get that sorted out, we can get it back into service.”
In the meantime, the fire chief said that he and his staff will make do with their backup engine, which he insisted “is more than adequate” to the task.
[Story continues below photos.]
Town borrows Carrboro’s leaf truck, thanks to former town manager
Another set of wheels that has proven much less reliable is the town’s leaf collection vehicle, which was slated to be replaced in time for this season’s flood of foliage. The town’s chosen vendor nevertheless failed to deliver on the new leaf truck as promised, compelling Elon’s administrators to turn to another supplier that had an available vehicle in Greensboro.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Elon’s town manager Richard Roedner admitted that this available leaf truck had failed a mandated inspection, which prompted that same vendor to offer up the next new vehicle that rolls off the assembly line.
Roedner added that bind caused by this snafu was temporarily relieved by the town of Carrboro, whose city manager Richard White had previously held the same position in Elon.
Roedner said that his Carrboro counterpart agreed to loan Elon a leaf truck for a couple of weeks, and while that vehicle has since returned home to Orange County, he expects another one to arrive shortly from the vendor in Greensboro.
“Our vendor is going to provide us with a loaner,” Roedner went on to assure the council, “and then we will start picking up leaves again.”