WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — An airport fire truck at T.F. Green remained in service despite failing an inspection, which is a violation of federal regulations, Target 12 has learned.
The issue was discovered last week during an annual certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
According to Richard McCurley, the acting senior vice president of operations at T.F. Green Airport, an internal inspection revealed one of the R. I. Airport Corporation’s three fire trucks was not able to pump the correct mixture of foam and water. Foam is used as a fire suppressant.
Despite the malfunction, the 2001 truck remained in service for about two hours until the FAA informed airport management that the truck was in violation of regulations.
Foam testing only happens once a year so it is unclear how long the truck was broken.
McCurley said it was a coincidence that the internal foam test was conducted on the same day as the FAA certification.
“The on-duty officer with the fire department should have taken [the truck] off once he is notified,” McCurley confirmed. “We are doing an investigation.”
He said policies prevent him from disclosing additional information about possible disciplinary action.
The truck did not respond to any incidents after it failed inspection, according to McCurley.
“Public safety is our priority here, our main concern,” he said. “We roll three trucks at all times but the requirement is only two trucks, so when that one went out of service, we still maintained compliance with the FAA.”
“Nobody was ever in danger of any safety issues,” McCurley added.
The truck is now out of service for repairs. It failed a second inspection Thursday and will return to service once it passes an internal test measuring its foam output.
McCurley said the FAA did not note any other outstanding issues in its verbal findings, though the full report has not yet been issued.
The airport is not facing financial penalties from the FAA review, according to a spokesperson.
T.F. Green’s newest fire truck is a 2009 model. The oldest is from 1998. McCurley said the airport has ordered two new fire trucks, which are scheduled to be in service by the end of 2020.
The airport is also in the process of searching for a new fire chief. The position has been vacant since December 2017.
As Target 12 reported last year, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting department responded to 122 aircraft incidents between 2013 and June 2018.
Web Extra: See below for more from Susan’s interview with McCurley. (Can’t see the video? Click here)