The fire truck, from the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation, was being returned to Canada from a parade near Syracuse when a tire went flat near the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, said Ogdensburg Police Chief Richard Polniak.
State Trooper Shawn Snow was under the truck fixing the tire while Pierre Surprenant, 51, of Lachenaie, Quebec, extended the truck's ladder to distribute the weight away from the flat right rear tire. When the ladder hit the live wire, both men were killed instantly, police said.
"How it ended up touching the wires, whether a piece of equipment failed and it slipped and touched the wires, or whether the act of jacking it up higher on one side caused it to touch, we just don't know yet," Polniak said.
Snow, 47, was a 19-year state police veteran.
"This type of accident is somewhat incomprehensible," said state police Maj. Richard C. Smith Jr. "It is a terrible day."
According to The Ottawa Citizen, Surprenant, the former fire chief at the Ottawa International Airport, was returning to his Montreal-area home following a weekend gathering in Syracuse to mark the 50th anniversary of The Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America.
He had been teaching firefighting at a school in the Montreal area for the past several months, the Watertown Daily Times reported.