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Sheriff's Office in ‘Vehicle Crisis' Following SUV Fire

September 12, 2007

ATHENS, OHIO – The Vinton County Sheriff’s Office lost a vehicle over the Labor Day weekend when the department’s 1998 Chevrolet Blazer burst into flames.

Sheriff David Hickey met with the Vinton County Commissioners to fill in the details. Hickey told Commissioners Tom Morgan and Mike Bledsoe that Deputy Lewis Whitmore had the SUV on Saturday. Whitmore had just gotten off duty and was pulling the Blazer into his driveway when smoke started billowing out of the corners of the hood, according to the Vinton County Courier.

Hickey said Whitmore is a member of the Laurelville Volunteer Fire Department and was readily capable of handling the small blaze by himself. However, he called the Laurelville Fire Department and by the time they arrived, the fire was extinguished.

Hickey described the incident and an estimation of what happened to cause the fire, saying an electrical short in the vehicle’s computer system was responsible for “substantial damage.”

There are three vehicles that need to be retired, according to Hickey, but this particular vehicle wasn’t one of them. The sheriff said he wasn't expecting the Blazer to be a problem. However, the fire was unforeseeable and now, Hickey is faced with considering replacement vehicles. He told the commissioners that he is looking into leasing programs to rectify the situation, according to the Vinton County Courier.

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