Special Response Team loses three vehicles in Somerset fire

Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 11:14 AM EDT
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SOMERSET, Ky. (WKYT) - A special response team that serves a large portion of southern Kentucky is dealing with a major loss.

Fire heavily damaged vehicles of the Special Response Team, or SRT, that’s based in Somerset.

The team serves 12 counties responding to accidents, chemical spills, and is even prepared for major terrorist events and weapons of mass destruction.

The fire broke out in a communications truck around 5 Monday evening, but the SRT chief says this could have been a whole lot worst had it not been for the quick work of the Somerset Fire Department.

However, there’s still a lot of damage, with at least three trucks a total loss.

We’re told the fire may have been caused by equipment that was charging in the communications truck, as it has to be ready to use at a moment’s notice.

The communications truck had a brand new satellite system essential for emergency communications.

“If 911 went down in the county, we could give them the ability to run 911. It generates power. We can merge frequencies together,” said Chief Doug Baker.

That ability has been key since 911, allowing services to communicate with one another.

Despite all the damage, the SRT is still operational. They say other agencies are pitching in to help.

“You know, we can operate, thank God the instrumentations we use to do chemical, bio, is still OK,” said Baker. “We lost no actual instrumentation. So, as far as a team, we are functional.”

Also saved were two birds, macaws, described as their mascots.

“We did get both out alive,” Baker said.

There is extensive smoke damage throughout the building but they believe can be salvaged. It’s not clear the monetary loss yet, but just the equipment in one truck was worth $100,000.

The chief says it may take several months to replace some of the equipment lost.

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