After an accident on Interstate 44 while responding to a call Friday afternoon, the Oakhurst Fire Department's only full-service fire truck is out of service. Now, the department is working to raise money for a new one.
"Right now, we're just kind of struggling to get our pieces put back together," said volunteer firefighter, Mike Blancett. Blancett was responding to a call of a car on fire in Sapulpa Friday, when he crashed, narrowly avoiding oncoming interstate traffic. As he approached I-44, the brakes on the department's 1970's model fire engine completely failed.
"My instincts just kicked in and I fought that thing and fought it, but it wound up winning." Blancett fought it so hard, he ended up with a bent steering wheel -- just one of the damages to the department's only fire engine.
The truck was not the only thing hurt in the crash. It put Blancett in the hospital with minor injuries, before being released, late Friday night.
No one else was hurt in the accident with Blancett able to avoid hitting other vehicles on the packed highway.
"I was thinking of my wife at home -- I had just left her and kissed her and told her I loved her, pray for me -- because I do that on every call, because you don't know," he said.
The fire station was already planning a fundraiser for Saturday night, meant to raise money for a new fire truck. Now, that fundraiser is more important than ever. "With this truck out of service, the area is really unsafe at the moment and the neighborhood is just -- we're having to wing it and we're having to get other fire departments to step up and help us out," Blancett said.
The fundraiser is scheduled for 7:30 at the Oakhurst Fire Department and will include a wrestling match -- the department's main source of funding.
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