Charges laid against Winnipeg man after fire truck stolen

A stolen fire truck was stopped by Winnipeg police on Assiniboine Avenue under the Midtown Bridge on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. Photo: Northern Plains Freelancer.

A Winnipeg man is facing numerous charges including auto theft and impaired driving after he stole a fire truck and led police on a chase that left a path of destruction and hundreds without power.

On Friday, at around 12:30 p.m, a man stole the truck while a fire crew was attending to a medical call in the 1600 block of Henderson Highway. He drove the fire truck southbound down Henderson Highway with emergency lights flashing and the air-horn being regularly activated.

The suspect hit a half-ton tuck near Henderson Highway and Bronx Avenue, sending the half-ton into a hydro pole, and shearing it off. The downed hydro pole caused power outages for residents and businesses in the area. An off-duty firefighter observed the collision and called police.

The half-ton was severely damaged but the driver was not injured. The fire truck did not stop and continued driving towards downtown, reaching speeds of up to 70 km/h, with police and firefighters chasing behind it.

For approximately 15 minutes the suspect drove the emergency vehicle through downtown. The fire truck drove through Central Park causing pedestrians to flee. He also drove against traffic on various one-way streets and ran several red lights. Behind Portage Place shopping centre, he crashed into a traffic bollard and wall, causing an estimated $5,000 damage.

Police officers were able to deploy two spike belts which eventually rendered the fire truck inoperable on Assiniboine Avenue under the Midtown Bridge.

The fire truck’s front left corner was damaged and both front tires were deflated.

A damaged fire truck with deflated tires is seen on Assiniboine Avenue under the Midtown Bridge on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019. Photo: Northern Plains Freelancer.

An officer had to use a taser gun to arrest the suspect.

Const. Rob Carver said after the man was detained he made the comment, “I’ve always wanted to do this.”

Bai Farama Koroma, 36, has been charged with seven offences, including Theft of Motor Vehicle, Operation of a Conveyance While impaired by BAC or Drug, Fail to Stop at Scene of Accident and Flight While Pursued by Peace Officer.

He was detained in custody.