Castalia police cruisers burn

Work being done on a fuel pump when fire started.
Dec 24, 2013

Two of three cruisers owned by the Castalia Police Department were charred to their shells Monday morning in a fire at the village garage.

An off-duty police officer was changing a fuel pump in one of the cruisers at about 10:35 a.m. when, upon removing the pump, something sparked and ignited the fuel tank.

Castalia police Chief Ken Majoy and Margaretta Township fire Capt. Dan Strayer refused to provide the name of the officer who unsuccessfully changed the pump.

After failing to extinguish the blaze on his own, the officer was treated for smoke inhalation at the hospital but was released Monday afternoon.    The garage that contained the cruisers, at 126 Main St., also caught fire.

“We had a snow blower, a tool chest, air compressor and firearms that were destroyed,” Majoy said. “All of the equipment in the vehicles was destroyed too: fire extinguishers, first aid kits, cones, tape measurers, chemical mace, hammers to destroy windows. There are so many things that you don’t think about until you don’t have them anymore”

The officer was able to remove a shotgun and its case, both of which were in one cruiser’s trunk.

Strayer and Majoy could not provide an estimated cost of damage.

The starting price of one equipped police cruiser, based on purchases by other area departments, is typically about $30,000.

“The structure was fully engulfed by the time we got there,” Strayer said. “It took off fast and everything inside was a total loss. The structure will probably have to be torn down and rebuilt”

About 10 firefighters extinguished the blaze in less than 30 minutes, and no one else was injured.

With only one cruiser left for the entire town, Majoy said the two destroyed cars will have to be replaced.

“I talked to the (Erie County) Sheriff this morning and he sent his wishes and said if we need anything they can help, since they have a substation back here” Majoy said. “Right now, we are doing OK as long as our one, new cruiser works. Hopefully it won’t fall apart. You never know."

Story and photos by Brandon Carte



he's more dangerous with a wrench than with a gun. maybe he should carry a wrench in his holster..

Rationally Speaking

Castalia has one full time officer, and the rest are part-time working other jobs. The Village residents voted in a small levy so that they could have a police department so it is not taking any tax money from outside the Village boundaries. Being part-time, they do their job out of dedication because their pay could not support them. They do not get any benefits. The officer involved is dedicated and was probably donating his time. He is a qualified mechanic. Thank God he was not more seriously hurt. To take the cruiser to a dealership would have cost the Village dearly for every little repair. This would eat up their bare bones budget. They are lucky to have someone to help control costs. And really, Logistics, do you want drunk drivers on the road with you or your family as you are apparently on the road after midnight?

And criticizing the fire department. Have any of the nay Sayers ever operated a piece of their machinery. Considering the firefighters have to put on their protective gear, get a fire truck out, the hoses charged with foam, and then fighting a gasoline fire with the possibility of a loaded firearm being involved and unknown gases from the burning interior of the cruisers.

Cruisers and buildings can be replaced, lives cannot. There is probably insurance to replace the material things.

At least everyone involved can be home for Christmas... Thanks guys!!!

Stop It

A certitified mechanic does not drop a fuel tank without the vehicle lifted in some way. As I stated earlier, jack stands or ramps. I forgot to mention a floor jack to hold the weight while the bolts are taken out.

You know nothing about certification if you believe he did that procedure in the proper manner. Two police cars and a shelter burnt to the ground...spending a dollar to save a dime.


Ladies and gents. The village of Castalia has part time ONLY LE officers, except the Chief. This officer happens to be a full time automotive professional, when he's not dawning the uniform. Accidents happen!!! Let's just be thankful everyone is ok. Merry Christmas to all.


Thanks for the explanation : )


And the so-called Chief, except for occasional traffic control when school lets out, can be found sitting at his desk. Unless you count the 'hour' lunch break he takes when he goes home to Huron.

Stop It

Professional mechanics DON'T CHANGE FUEL PUMPS with the car sitting flat on the ground.

You can change your handle as often as you want to back that idiotic stunt up. It does not not change the fact that Castalia is out two cars and a car shelter for stupidity.

Sure, insurance will pay and Castailia gets newer cars and insurance rates go up costing the taxpayer.

Let's see how the ball rolls....prolly won't hear anything more.

Stop It

This will be "under the rug".

Stop It

Wanna bet the newer cruisers will be Chargers or SUVs? That's what all the surrounding area has, afterall. No more Crown Vics.


Hey Stop It.... maybe you don't know as much as you think you do. Why wouldn't a mechanic change a pump on level ground? Assuming it was the Charger needing the fuel pump, you don't have to put the vehicle on jacks, a lift or any other hoist. The Charger's fuel pump is accessible by removing the back seat. He wouldn't even have to drop the fuel tank. So, by your wisdom if he were to change the Charger's fuel pump... the proper way would be to hoist the vehicle while he's in the back seat changing the fuel pump. Genius.

For arguments sake, let's also say it was the Crown Victoria that needed the fuel pump. Per AllData, not one step in the process says to lift the vehicle. There's precautions that say don't smoke, be careful of electrical devices, etc. But no where, not one time, is it mentioned that it needs to be on a lift. So now, is this mentality that a professional mechanic would know to lift a vehicle for a fuel pump fact based? Not at all. Are there hundreds, possibly thousands, of properly trained and certified mechanics who have changed a fuel pump in there driveway on the ground without incident? Most certainly.

Stop It

Keep changing your handle and making stupid excuses for the idiot who just jacked up the cost for the local taxpayer and won't be named?. Done by the book, is done by the book.

Buy a Chilton or YOU show me where pulling a backseat is the same as this?

Tue, 12/24/2013 - 3:29pm

Cop is a certified mechanic who does good work. He took all the safety precations including removing the gas tank and battery. Just a freak accident. Shat the bed.


Keep changing handle? What?

If TuffNuts is talking about the Charger and is "in the know", then he's wrong and so was the repair process.

If TuffNuts is talking about the Crown Vic and is "in the know", then he's right and it was just a freak accident.

I don't have a horse in this race. I only jumped in the mix here because you were falsely claiming they HAD to hoist the vehicle in some way to drop the tank. That's wrong. You're wrong.

Buy a Chilton or YOU show me where it's required to hoist a vehicle for a fuel pump. You can do that right? Since that's your entire basis for claiming he's not qualified.


Let me get this straight, the MPD is refusing to give the name of the officer? In their attempt to show their loyalty to their fellow officer to uphold the blue line that has protected wrong doings across many police departments in the past, they fail to remember they are accountable to the public that pays for such mistakes. This sort of ego that is forged over time blurs this reality and ultimately forges officers whom seem to develop a sense of power that must routinely be squelched by the reality that they are simply uniformed community guards and not impervious to reality. The option to release a name is not an option at all!


Better take Barney´s cigs away!