Tanker, Ambulance Destroyed in Indiana Fire Station Blaze

GASTON, Ind. (AP) -- A fire at the town's fire station destroyed a tanker truck, an ambulance and other equipment stored inside.

Members of the volunteer department were able to extinguish the fire within minutes after they were called about 5 a.m. Monday, but the flames had already engulfed the tanker's cab.

"It was called in as a possible business fire," said Mike Dobbs, the department's assistant chief. "We could not imagine it was our own station."

Dobbs said no one was at the station when the fire apparently started in the cab of the 1967 tanker truck that had made a run late Sunday to a field fire.

Dobbs said he believed the tanker and the ambulance were damaged beyond repair.

The building, constructed in 1974 in the town about 10 miles north of Muncie, appeared to sustain little damage. Five other trucks inside were being cleaned and repaired after the fire, while other equipment, hoses and medical equipment from the ambulance was destroyed.

Dobbs estimated property damage in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but he said the department was fully insured. Volunteer departments from surrounding towns helped cover the Gaston department's area for much of Monday.

Dobbs said the fire would have been far worse had it reached fuel tanks on the trucks. Blue flames were shooting from the gasoline tank of the older truck that was destroyed, he said, but the tank did not explode.