Recall Ordered In Shadow of Fire Engine Crash That Killed Six

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A wreath is staked into the ground for Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel near a series of memorials at the crash site. - INDEPENDENT RECORD
  • Independent Record
  • A wreath is staked into the ground for Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel near a series of memorials at the crash site.

Four months after the small town of Three Forks, Mont.—population 1,892—was devastated when its newly appointed fire chief and five members of one family died when their pickup crashed into the fire engine being driven by the chief on a rural highway, the manufacturers of the fire engine have ordered a recall.

It was June 19 when Three Forks Fire Chief Todd Rummel was driving a 2002 International fire engine from Helena to Three Forks on U.S. Highway 12. The engine collided with the westbound pickup, forcing both vehicles into a ditch. The wreckage “was just all melted together” in the blaze, according to law enforcement.

Killed in the pickup were a Helena couple and their three young children,

And now, the Associated Press is reporting that Navistar Inc., the manufacturer of the fire engine's drivetrain is recalling all International 4800 trucks built between June 1999 and May 2002 that are equipped with Fabco TC-200 transfer cases. Investigators have concluded that a faulty drivetrain was responsible for the fatal crash. The AP reports that a remedy is still under development and owners will be notified when a permanent solution is available. 

Montana officials concluded that one of the wheels of the Three Forks fire engine locked up, causing the vehicle to veer into the oncoming pickup, striking it head-on.

The company said there were five other incidents since 2008 that prompted them to issue the recall.