‘We are all alive, by the grace of God’: NC firefighter badly hurt after tire explodes on truck

North Carolina news
Anthony Schaffer (Courtesy of the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department)
Anthony Schaffer (Courtesy of the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department)

HUBERT, N.C. (WGHP) — A North Carolina firefighter was rushed to a hospital after a fire truck crashed in Onslow County, according to the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department.

“First, we are all alive, by the grace of God,” the fire department said in a Facebook post on Saturday. “Second, we do have one member hospitalized with major injuries, expecting to have a second surgery tomorrow. Anyone who has ever driven a large vehicle especially a firetruck knows what that means.”

On Saturday, the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department chief was driving at about 40 mph down Stella Road when a new tire on the front of the truck exploded, the department said. The explosion caused the chief to lose control of the truck, which ran off the road and hit a driveway pipe.

According to a GoFundMe shared by the fire department, firefighter Anthony Schaffer was airlifted from the scene and is “facing a long recovery process.”

“We ask that you pray for his recovery,” the department said. “The rest of us (are bruised) and battered but we will recover. We will help our brother recover as well.”

  • Scene of crash on Stella Road in Hubert. (Courtesy of the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department)
  • Scene of crash on Stella Road in Hubert. (Courtesy of the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department)
  • Scene of crash on Stella Road in Hubert. (Courtesy of the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department)
  • Scene of crash on Stella Road in Hubert. (Courtesy of the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department)

At 7:15 p.m. Monday, the fire department announced that Schaffer was out of surgery. Schaffer won’t be able to bear weight for at least three months.

“His hip was broken and dislocated. His pelvis was broken in several places,” the post said. “Everything has been repaired and doctors expect him to make a complete recovery.”

In response to comments on the department’s announcement, the Hubert Volunteer Fire Department emphasized that the tires on the truck were in “good condition.”

There have been several comments made concerning the condition of the one rear tires shown in the pictures. The rear tires on this apparatus were in good condition. Our trucks are inspected weekly, and tires are replaced as needed, without delay. We do not take chances with bad tires. And wrecks like this are why.

I know there are always going to be those who just have to point out every fault and blemish. But the facts remain that the front steer tire that blew was new. And we are finding out now that this is not an isolated incident. We have been contacted by multiple agencies that have had similar incidents. And we are working with the necessary agencies to try and insure it does not happen to anyone else.

The department extended thanks to another driver who was behind the fire truck at the time of the crash and stopped to help.

They also thanked the teams that helped, including Western Carteret Fire Department, Swansboro Fire Department, Bear Creek Fire Department, Onslow County Sheriff’s Department, Swansboro Police, Western Carteret and Onslow County EMS, and Air Link, as well as the staff at Onslow Memorial, Vidant Medical and Naval Hospital.

The fire department says that anyone who would like to send cards can send them to the following address:

Anthony Schaffer C/O Hubert Vol. Fire Dept.
P.O. Box 57
Hubert, N.C. 28539

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