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Federal investigators examine faulty firetruck

POSTED: September 4, 2014 11:54 p.m.
/For The Times

Gainesville Fire Department and Hall County Fire Services personnel prepare to extract injured firefighters after the accident at the county's Allen Creek training center.

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Representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were in Hall County on Thursday to look at the truck that caused severe injuries to three firefighters, according to county officials.

The NHTSA asked for privacy in the matter, with two Hall County Sheriff’s Office vehicles blocking the way to the Allen Creek training center.

“They asked us for some help blocking off the area while they were examining the truck,” said Hall County public information officer Katie Crumley.

Crumley could confirm that NHTSA has come and gone, but said all other comment would have to come from NHTSA.

When reaching out to NHTSA for comment, a representative in the agency’s office of communications said NHTSA was “not investigating the firetruck accident.”

Will Griffin, TJ Elliott and Stephen Jackson fell 44 feet on July 22 during a training exercise at the Allen Creek training center, leading to surgeries and rehabilitation.

After the accident, Griffin was taken by ambulance to Northeast Georgia Medical Center, and Elliott and Jackson were airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta.

Griffin is continuing rehabilitation as an outpatient of Shepherd Spinal Center’s spinal injury clinic in Atlanta.

Jackson told The Times he had nine vertebrae fused together and two 8-inch rods inserted to stabilize his back. He wears a plastic brace around his chest and back for support as he heals.

Elliott was at a cookout Saturday to benefit the three injured firefighters. He was wearing a back brace.

More than $24,000 has been raised for the firefighters via a variety of fundraisers throughout the community.

Then-Fire Chief David Kimbrell was relieved of command Aug. 18 in the wake of the accident. He remains chief of the county’s Emergency Management Agency.


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