By Brian Maass

LOUISVILLE, Colo. (CBS4) – In the early hours of the Marshall Fire, the embers and smoke knocked one of the Louisville Fire Protection District’s ladder trucks out of commission.

“The engine sucked up smoke and embers,” said Fire Chief John Willson. “It melted the air filter and caused the truck to die.”

The reserve ladder truck had been involved in the firefight on Dec. 30 for about one to two hours before it died at an intersection near the flames.

A photo taken by a bystander showed the abandoned truck with burned out homes in the background.

(credit: CBS)

Willson said having the apparatus in service “Would have been helpful — I can’t deny that.” But he said he was not sure it would have saved more homes.

He said when the truck was knocked out, the firefighters assigned to it were then assigned to different rigs. The truck was repaired the next day and went back into service.

Willson said as far as he knew, the ladder truck was the only vehicle that stopped working during the Marshall Fire.

He said the truck, which is valued at about $1 million, was manufactured in 1993 and was rebuilt in 2010.

Brian Maass