IRVING, Texas -- On a cold January morning, a small fire at a day car left parents scrambling to check on their children. For parents, the scare was short-lived, but for the Irving Fire Department, it is just one of many calls they'll take today.
Among the commotion that comes with a daily shift, Irving Fire Chief Victor Conley has one more tool in place to make sure his crews stay safe -- a new tool re-purposed from one of the oldest trucks in their fleet.
"If you were a citizen driving down the road, you would think it was another fire apparatus," said Chief Victor Conley of Irving Fire Department.
Rather than retire this 90's era fire truck, it now serves a single purpose -- to block anything from plowing into first responders who risk their lives on the side of the road.
"I did some research back in 15, and Irving has two of the top 100 most congested thoroughfares in the state of Texas, and of course, with all of the construction going on Highway 183, it makes it even more dangerous," Conley said.
This converted fire truck is back in service to stop near misses from happening -- two stations have one of these blocker trucks that can roll out every call -- a measure that they say will save lives and money.
Two pictures show a banged up truck and that was just a few days ago. Today we were there and caught the truck in action -- The chief calculated that in the last five years, the City has paid up some $1 million to repair damaged vehicles, and that's nothing when you consider incidents like this one from 2015.
"That later truck spun 180 degrees and rolled a 360, threw two of my firefighters to the service road and one down the highway. They were off for several months with their injuries, but thankfully, they all came back to work," he said.
Had the blocker truck been in service, the outcome may have been much different.