Gatineau Fire replaces problem tires on ladder trucks

Gatineau Fire Services replaced tires on three ladder trucks following reports by drivers of swaying when travelling at high speeds.

Drivers reported trucks with new tires seemed to want to change lanes on their own

Gatineau's fire department had to replace faulty tires that caused some Gatineau fire trucks to swerve on the road because the 30-ton trucks were too heavy for the tires to support. (CBC)

Faulty tires that caused some Gatineau fire trucks to sway on the road while travelling at high speeds were replaced Wednesday.

A Gatineau Fire Services division chief said three ladder trucks that had recently been fitted with new tires were refitted with their old tires after drivers complained of difficulties handling the vehicles.

"The person that was driving the vehicle said it was an uncomfortable feeling that the vehicle would sway that much," said Gary Barnes.

One truck was taken off the road for a mechanical inspection after a driver reported problems about 10 days ago, Barnes said. After ruling out a mechanical issue, the new tires were found to be the problem by process of elimination, Barnes said.

The drivers of two other ladder trucks with new tires were ordered not to exceed 75 kilometres per hour due to safety concerns until the problem was fixed, he said. Their tires were replaced Wednesday.

Union leader calls problem tires 'embarrassing'

The president of Gatineau's firefighters' union said the new "junk tires" could not support the weight of the 30-tonnes ladder trucks. StéphaneNoël said it was "embarrassing" that some ladder trucks were limited to travel 75 kilometres per hour during an emergency response when the limit is 100 kilometres per hour on some city freeways.

Still, Barnes said the troubled trucks only made up a fraction of the Gatineau Fire Services fleet, which has a total of six ladder trucks, 12 pumper trucks and seven tanker trucks. He added that ladder trucks only have to travel on freeways when responding to fires outside its own division.

"We were always able to offer (fire) services to the citizens of the City of Gatineau," Barnes said.