BOSTON (AP) – The president of a North Attleborough repair shop said his company replaced a worn brake hose on a Boston Fire Department ladder truck involved in a fatal accident Friday, but spotted nothing during an inspection of the truck that could have explained why it apparently careened out of control.

Ladder 26 slammed into a high-rise, killing a firefighter and critically injured another.

Timothy O’Neill, president of Greenwood Emergency Vehicles, said Ladder 26 was brought in for an annual ladder inspection in September. He said most of the repairs were associated with the truck’s aerial ladder components.

He said the shop doesn’t perform routine brake services on Boston fire trucks, but did replace the worn brake hose, which was spotted during the inspection. Brake problems are being looked at as one possible explanation for the accident.

“When you have something in house and there’s an obvious need and it’s a quick fix, you do it,” he said in an interview Sunday. The replacement of the brake hose cost just over $200.

O’Neill said the shop completed a more extensive repair list than usual, because the fire commissioner has asked the shop to perform needed repairs and maintenance on vehicles in the fleet that have been long overdue.

He also said Ladder 26 was in his shop on two other occasions between the September inspection and Friday’s accident. One was to repair a faulty electrical connection on the aerial ladder system in November. The other was to repair damage minor body damage that occurred during an accident in December.

He said inspectors at his shop were the last to do a full inspection on the truck and saw nothing that could have explained Friday’s crash.

“What happened Friday … something like that is obviously totally unforeseeable,” he said. “I only wish we could have caught something.”

Lt. Kevin Kelley, a 52-year-old father and a 30-year veteran, was killed when the truck crashed into a Mission Park building after returning from a routine call. Another firefighter aboard had a broken leg and two others had minor injuries.

Boston Fire Commissioner Roderick Fraser has ordered an outside inspection on the brake systems of 44 other fire trucks from the same manufacturer – a move he described as precautionary.

Fraser warned against jumping to conclusions, but said Saturday that the lack of skid marks near the crash scene suggested there might have been problems with the brakes.

The truck was returning from a medical call when it barreled down the steep Parker Hill Avenue, went through the intersection at Huntington Avenue and slammed into the building at about 2:30 p.m.

The truck hit a section of the building where children were working in a computer learning center. Four children were taken to hospitals with minor injuries. The truck struck two parked cars and a brick wall before becoming lodged in the tall red brick building.

Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said the department will convene a board of inquiry to look into the cause and come up with recommendations.

The Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office are also conducting investigations to rule out the possibility that criminal activity could have played a role in the accident.

“Our investigation will be thorough and the loss our city suffered Friday will be foremost in our minds,” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said in a statement.


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