|The West Valley RoadRunner carries a Waterous CXK 1,250-gpm rear-mount pump with a raised pump operator’s platform, a 700-gallon water tank, a 20- gallon foam cell, 500 feet of 5-inch hose and 1,200 feet of 2-1/2-inch hose.|
|West Valley’s Rosenbauer RoadRunner has a 68-foot straight stick with an Elkhart 1,250-gpm monitor at the tip.|
West Valley’s Rosenbauer RoadRunner has a 68-foot straight stick with an Elkhart 1,250-gpm monitor at the tip.
The West Valley Fire Department covers a semi-rural region of northwestern Montana with an assortment of residential, commercial and industrial exposures spread throughout its 90 square miles.
Operating out of three stations spaced about 5 miles apart, the fire department had only two attack apparatus available for use – both top-mount pumpers that provide their operators commanding views at fire scenes.
Because the district also has a great number of multi-story apartment complexes, condominiums and businesses, West Valley Fire officials determined they needed an aerial to replace an aging mutual aid ladder that responded on all structure fire calls.
After the department’s truck committee members saw a Rosenbauer 68-foot RoadRunner quint at a regional show and had the opportunity to climb all over the rig and get questions answered by the dealer, the consensus was that the apparatus would fit West Valley Fire’s needs perfectly.
Founded in 1968, West Valley Fire Department sits on the edge of Flathead National Forest outside Kalispell, Mont., with a third of its district requiring wildland urban interface operations.
Rodney Dresbach, chief of the 38- member volunteer force since 1996, said the district has seen dramatic changes in the last 20 years. “What was once essentially farmland surrounded by mountains has become a community of subdivisions, million-dollar homes, multi-story apartment buildings and industrial complexes, with agricultural still prominent in the area,” he said.
Only five percent of West Valley’s response district has hydrants, so water tenders have been a way of life for the department since its inception.
“Talk about having to deal with everything,” Dresbach said. “We’ve got it all right here, so we needed a piece of apparatus that would meet a number of needs.”
The Rosenbauer RoadRunner quint carries a 68-foot straight stick with an Elkhart 1,250-gpm monitor and a 500- pound tip load, a Waterous CXK 1,250-gpm rear-mounted pump with a raised pump operator’s platform, a 700-gallon water tank, a 20-gallon foam cell, 500 feet of 5-inch hose and 1,200 feet of 2-1/2-inch hose.
Dresbach said truck committee members looked at ways the department could address fire suppression tactics while ensuring the safety of its members in such a diverse response area.
“One of the major concerns for us is firefighter safety,” he said, “especially since we deal with chimney fires on a regular basis. We are very aware of the safety of our firefighters, especially when they are on a roof.”
He noted that wood is a primary heat source in the fire district and many homes have metal roofs, which are difficult to work using ground ladders. “The RoadRunner’s aerial allows us to work chimney fires without putting men on the roof itself,” the chief said.
There were other major reasons the Rosenbauer quint was so attractive to West Valley.
“Both of our engines have top-mount pumps on them because we want the pump operator up where he can see better and keep a handle on what’s going on around him,” Dresbach pointed out. “The RoadRunner with its aerial and pump design was a great selling point from our perspective.”
Another attractive element was the vehicle’s 700-gallon water tank, larger than the standard 500-gallon model usually found on such rigs. “We looked at a number of other manufacturers and it came down to the Rosenbauer RoadRunner and Pierce’s 75-foot quint,” the chief said. “But the Pierce had a side-mount pump and a 500-gallon water tank.”
Todd McBride, apparatus specialist at Rosenbauer’s General Division in Wyoming, Minn., where the quint was built, said having a rear-mount pump provided an additional element to the vehicle.
“Because the pump and its associated piping and controls are at the rear of the vehicle, that space usually taken up in the middle of the apparatus is now open,” McBride said.
Rosenbauer crafted an open transverse compartment in that space, part of which West Valley filled with its air bags and spare air tank bottle holders. Dresbach noted that the department probably will fill the rest of the transverse space with hydraulic rescue tools – a 32-inch spreader and a large cutter at the minimum – to develop more of a rescue aspect for the vehicle.
McBride said West Valley also was pleased with the compact design of the RoadRunner. Its travel height is 11 feet, 8 inches, and its overall length is 35 feet.
“The vehicle also has an extended travel feature on the nozzle that allows it to go 80 degrees upward,” McBride pointed out. “If you need to go through a window you can point the nozzle to spray upward or you can put the boom below grade and spray up under an obstruction.”
Brendan Feist, sales production coordinator for General Fire Apparatus in Spokane, Wash., which sold the quint to West Valley, said truck committee members expressed an interest in a vehicle that could perform a number of tasks, carry the largest amount of water possible and have a rear-mounted pump with a top-mounted pump panel.
“We took them through one of our RoadRunner demo units when they came to an open house, and later brought one to their district so they could test it out,” Feist said. “They especially liked that the rear-mounted pump allowed us to make a shorter truck with a larger booster tank and more compartments. It was totally different than anything they had before.”
The vehicle functions perfectly in West Valley’s district, he said. “There are a lot of short, narrow roads, so maneuverability is critical for them,” he said. “The RoadRunner has a single axle and can turn sharply… It’s the biggest punch on six wheels.”
While West Valley’s RoadRunner had not been used at a working fire at the time Dresbach was interviewed, he said his firefighters had done a lot of training on the rig.
“It’s everything we thought it would be,” he said. “We see the potential to use it for low-angle rescue work, as well as more traditional truck company functions. We’ll get into those roles more deeply as time goes on.”
Rosenbauer RoadRunner 68-Foot Quint
- Commander AT custom fire chassis with 6-person cab
- Cummins ISM 450-hp diesel engine
- Allison Gen IV-E transmission
- 11-foot 8-inch overall height
- 35 foot overall length
- 206-inch wheelbase
- 21,500-pound front axle
- 31,500-pound rear axel
- 53,000 GVWR
- 68-foot, 3-section RoadRunner rescue ladder and elevating waterway
- 500-pound tip load
- 1,250-gpm tower waterway
- Aerial operating range from minus- 10 degrees to plus-80 degrees
- 11-foot, 9-inch A frame outrigger footprint
- Waterous CXK 1,250-gpm pump
- 700-gallon UPF tank
- 20-gallon foam cell
- FoamPro 2001 system
- One 6-inch rear suction
- Two 2-1/2-inch suctions, one on each side of body
- One 4-inch aerial inlet/discharge
- Two 2-1/2-inch transverse compartment speedlays
- One 2-1/2-inch front bumper discharge
- One 2-1/2-inch rear discharge
- One 3-inch discharge with 5-inch Storz fitting at rear
- Two-section 24-foot extension ladder
- 14-foot roof ladder
- 10-foot attic ladder
- 500-watt generator
Price: $643,000 without equipment
West Valley Fire Department, Kalispell, Montana
Strength: 38 volunteer firefighters, operating out of three stations, providing fire suppression and emergency responses, plus basic life support ambulance service; 300 calls annually.
Service area: Mostly rural covering approximately 90 square miles, including wildland urban interface, residential subdivisions, million-dollar homes, multi-story apartment buildings and condominiums, industrial complexes and agricultural uses. Other apparatus: 2005 Pierce crew cab 4WD pumper, 1,250-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon tank, foam and CAFS; 1990 Central States pumper, 1,000-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon tank; 2002 Kenworth T800 tender, 500-gpm pump, 3,500-gallon tank; 1989 Kenworth T800 tender, 500-gpm pump, 3,500-gallon tank; 2003 Kenworth T300 tender, 500-gpm pump, 2,000-gallon tank; 2004 Chevrolet 350 4WD brush/light rescue, 500-gpm pump, 250 gpm tank; 2002 Chevrolet 350 4WD brush/light rescue, 500- gpm pump, 250-gallon tank; 1978 Pierce Type 6 brush truck, 4WD, 250-gpm pump, 250-gallon tank; 1988 Chevy crew cab 1-ton utility, 125-gpm pump, 150-gallon tank; two BLS ambulances.