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'He had a guardian angel on his shoulder': Gore fire chief injured, tanker written off in accident en route to fire scene

The Gore District Volunteer Fire Department pumper tanker is beyond repair and will need to be replaced following an accident on Sept. 10, 2017.
The Gore District Volunteer Fire Department pumper tanker is beyond repair and will need to be replaced following an accident on Sept. 10, 2017.

GORE, N.S. – Gore District Volunteer Fire Department chief Jeff Ettinger suffered minor injuries after the fire truck he was driving crashed into a ditch while responding to a fire scene.

The Gore District Volunteer Fire Department pumper tanker seen on its side in a ditch. The driver, chief Jeff Ettinger, managed to get out of the vehicle on his own with a few minor injuries.

He was on his way to a call in Kennetcook, where a home was destroyed by fire, but nobody was injured in the crash.
Markitia Ettinger, treasurer of the Gore District Volunteer Fire Department and Jeff Ettinger's wife, said they feel lucky he wasn’t badly hurt.
“He’s OK, he walked away, was very lucky that nobody else was with him,” Markitia Ettinger said.
“My husband left as the lone person in our pumper tanker to go for water shuttle and when he was on his route he hit a wall of fog and lost sight of the road and… he thought he was on one part of the road and felt the truck drop off the shoulder of the road,” she said. “The fog cleared, he realized where he was, went to correct the truck, the load shifted and there was nothing he could do.”
Markitia said the truck, a 1991 Freightliner pumper tanker, slid into the ditch until it struck a telephone poll, which was knocked down.
“Just some bumps and bruises and a minor concussion, he was very lucky,” she said. “He had a guardian angel on his shoulder that night.”
She said that the truck was approximately 25 kilometres away from the scene when the accident happened, on Highway 202 in Gore.
“Once we got some of our members there… I transported him in my own personal vehicle to the Hants Community Hospital,” she said. “He did refuse ambulance because he knew that the ambulance was needed on the scene in Kennetcook.”
Truck wrote off
Following the incident the truck was taken to Lawrence’s auto salvage, as it was determined that the damage to the truck was too cost prohibitive to repair.
“The truck is wrote-off,” she said. “We are waiting for our insurance company, but we went over and looked at it and with the damage that we see, the value of fixing it… exceeds the price of the truck.”
She said that there’s extensive damage to the truck, the pumps and all of the gear inside and out.
The fire truck was the main pumper tanker for the community, Markitia said.
“The next step for the fire department is going to be based on what the insurance will give us and looking for a new-to-us truck,” she said. “We have had two departments that have come forward and offered the use of their excess, spare trucks, that we could utilize until everything is settled and we have a new truck.”
She said that they’ve been touched by the responses and well wishes through Facebook and in the community.
“My husband and I have come to the realization that I was almost a widow,” she said.
Markitia said she wanted to thank members of the Nine Mile River and Elmsdale fire departments for coming to her husband’s aid that morning.
Nova Scotia Power has replaced the power pole.

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