The Belington (W.Va.) Volunteer Fire Department recently added a 95-foot Sutphen mid-mount aerial platform quint to its fleet that includes a 2001 all-wheel drive rescue pumper, and 1987 and 1998 Class A pumpers.
The new tower provides this rural Appalachian mountain fire department with the necessary reach for roof access to area college buildings as well as the high school, hospital and senior center in its response area, according to Assistant Chief Phil Hart.
Hart said the county population is about 15,000 and the department’s first-alarm response area covers 150 square miles.
“We also offer mutual aid to the entire county covering more than 347 square miles and there is no other aerial apparatus in the area,” Hart said. “That limited our effectiveness.”
The SP95 has a full-tilt cab cushioned by a Raydan AirLink air-ride suspension system and it is powered by a Caterpillar C13 430 hp diesel engine and an Allison 4000EVS transmission.
The mid-mount aerial platform has a dry tip load capacity of 1,000 pounds, and the truck carries 1,200 feet of 4-inch large diameter hose, a full set of ground ladders, a 300-gallon polypropylene booster tank and an 8,000-watt Honda generator. Top highway speed is 65 mph.
Should Belington have to respond to nearby Alderson-Broaddus College in Phillipi, which has 750 students housed in three, multiple-story dorms as well as a five-story academic building, the new aerial platform could be a lifesaver.
Similarly, the upper stories of the local hospital, senior center and new high school can now be reached safely.
The county’s industrial park buildings all have metal roof construction, making firefighting operations hazardous, but “with this aerial tower we have the necessary reach to get the job done,” said Hart.
The truck carries number 304 in memory of Captain Mike Hart, killed December 2005, in a traffic accident while returning from conducting a training session. He was a volunteer with Belington department and a career member of the Elkins Fire Department, just across the county line.
The $504,000 aerial platform quint contract was negotiated directly between the fire department and Harry Sutphen, great-great-grandson of the company’s founder.
Sutphen, located in Amlin, Ohio, is the oldest, continuously owned and operated family fire apparatus manufacturer in the country.
For information call 800-848-5860 or go to www.sutphen.com.