Former employee says I-80 trucks not up to code

I-80 equipment faces 12 violations and more than $130,000 in penalties

COLONA, Illinois - More information is coming to light about problems surrounding the trucking equipment company that burned to the ground in Colona last week. 

This is a story you'll only see on Local 4 and Fox 18 News. We started digging deeper into the company's history.

As of the most recent inspection, I-80 Equipment faced 12 violations and nearly $130,000 in penalties. But former employee Matthew Harp said there's one dangerous violation he recently discovered.

Harp said he learned at a meeting with trustees soon after a bank took control of the company in December that I-80 had not been using dielectric paint, which keeps workers safe in bucket trucks when they're near electric lines.

"Electricity can't go through the dielectric paint on the boom," he said. "So if you hit a power line it's not going to shock anybody. The other paint will let electricity go through and shock everybody that's even close to the truck."

Harp says there's about a $150 difference between the paint they were supposed to use and what they were using. After working there for a little more than a year, he said he made nearly 400 trucks and he's not sure if any are safe. 

"It weighs on you because your name is on that truck," Harp said. 

Harp and his wife went back and forth deciding how to report what they found out, but after last week's fire Andrea had enough. 

"I know I would want somebody to tell my husband that your truck is no longer safe, we have to get it tested," she said.

Without access to any business records, Harp said he's at a loss of how to contact buyers. 

Now he's hoping to get the word out before it's too late.

"Can't wrap your head around it," he said. "It could possible kill somebody if they get into a power wire."


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