A Semmes Fire-Rescue Department source tells NBC 15 News the brakes failed on a ladder truck last Wednesday morning as a Lieutenant drove it down a hill on Schillinger Road and into a curve. The source says after the rear wheels locked, the truck went sideways, and it rolled. One firefighter, who was a passenger, received minor injuries to his shoulder.

“I’m pretty sure the weather had a huge factor in this accident, but we’re going to be investigating it at all angles,” said Chief Kevin Brooks the day of the crash.

NBC 15 News has since obtained an email Captain Charles Couey wrote warning about the brakes six days before the accident, the same day he says a brand-new fire engine was delivered to the department but not put in service. Couey wrote the warning to fellow fire fighters and Chief Brooks saying in part, “The ladder truck air brake is getting worse… Please be very careful while responding to calls.”

On Monday, we asked Chief Brooks what was done to address the concerns about the brakes and if the ladder truck was fit to be on the road? He declined to do an interview because he says the cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Couey’s email was written on December 29th. It mentions how the new fire engine wouldn’t be put into service until after a city ceremony. Couey wrote, “Hopefully, the ladder can last until then.” It didn’t. That ceremony was scheduled the day after the crash happened. During Thursday’s dedication, Chief Brooks addressed the age of the ladder truck.

“That truck is 24 years old, so it was an older ladder truck, and yes, we are planning, we were planning to replace it,” said Brooks.

Prior to the accident and Couey’s email, a source tells us the parking brake failed on the ladder truck when they arrived to a scene last month, and a firefighter had to keep a foot on the brake so the truck wouldn’t roll. NBC 15 News also reached out to the mayor for comment but did not hear back prior to the publication of this report.