It was hard enough to see smoke billowing from Twin Peaks on Robert C. Daniel Parkway last month after a crazed ex-employee decided it was a good idea to plow his vehicle into the restaurant and try to set it ablaze.
But then The Augusta Chronicle reported this week that the first Augusta Fire Department pumper truck that arrived at the scene actually malfunctioned.
Apparently, the pumper truck couldn’t pump water.
How ironic is that?
To make matters worse, Chronicle reporter Susan McCord’s story stated that the pumper truck malfunctioned despite the fact that the truck had “undergone maintenance Monday morning before the incident.”
“The fire truck was dispatched from Engine Co. 9 on Walton Way Extension at 12:49 p.m. Monday and arrived at the fire at 12:50 p.m., but ‘tapes’ were having to be reviewed to determine when the second-arriving engine, Engine 15, got to the fire,” The Chronicle reported.
While the Twin Peaks owners have announced that they plan to rebuild the Augusta location, this new fact from the fire department definitely adds more questions to a fire that was already bizarre enough.
On June 26, Roland Evan Croyle, 45, was arrested and later charged with arson in the first degree and four counts of aggravated assault.
According to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, Croyle crashed his Mitsubishi Montero SUV into the restaurant at 12:49 p.m. and then set the building on fire.
Even though Croyle was carrying a large knife with an 8- to 10-inch blade on his left side, an unnamed private citizen managed to detain the suspect at gunpoint until deputies arrived on the scene.
Richmond County deputies then tackled Croyle, a former employee of the restaurant, and eventually took him into custody.
This is how Richmond County Deputy Kirk Watts described arriving on the scene:
“As I approached the business, I observed a large amount of smoke billowing from the front entrance of the building. Upon my arrival, I parked my patrol vehicle behind Captain Scott Gay’s vehicle which was parked out in front.”
That’s when Watts realized the seriousness of the situation.
“After exiting my patrol vehicle, I began to approach the main entrance of Twin Peaks where I observed the suspect’s vehicle which he had used to ram the front entrance of the building,” Watts wrote. “I drew my weapon after exiting my vehicle because I believed that the suspect, Mr. Roland Croyle, was prepared to cause as much harm as he possibly could after having just set the building on fire with numerous people inside.”
When Watts ordered Croyle to the ground, he did not comply, but it distracted Croyle long enough for Capt. Scott Gay to bring him to the ground.
“Once Mr. Croyle was in custody, myself and other responding deputies were able to drag Mr. Croyle away from the front of the building,” Watts reported. “A large portion of the ground around Mr. Croyle’s vehicle was covered in fuel where he had apparently spilled it from whatever containers he had used.”
It was clear that Croyle had intended to die that day, Watts wrote.
“While Mr. Croyle was in the back of my patrol vehicle, he stated several times, ‘I was supposed to die,’” Watts wrote. “Mr. Croyle indicated to me that he intended on being shot twice in the chest and once in the head by responding officers.”
Fortunately, there were no injuries related to the fire, but the restaurant was severely damaged, an unstable man is behind bars, dozens of employees are out of work and, now, the fire department has to answer some serious questions relating to the failure of its pumper truck.
It’s been a rough couple of weeks in Augusta.