Aerials, Fire Department, Pumpers

KME Front-Mount Pumper Allows Flexibility for Vermont Fire Department

Issue 6 and Volume 16.

KME fully enclosed the Hale 1,250-gpm front-mount pump on New Haven’s pumper
KME fully enclosed the Hale 1,250-gpm front-mount pump on New Haven’s pumper to protect it from harsh winter elements. The enclosure can be accessed through a top panel for service or maintenance.
The New Haven front-mount pumper
The New Haven front-mount pumper has a Hannay hydraulic reel at the rear that can carry up to 1,500 feet of 5-inch hose.
KME built a transverse compartment above the rear wheels
KME built a transverse compartment above the rear wheels to accommodate four 8-foot suction hose sections in the enclosed space.

The New Haven (VT) Fire Department covers a mostly rural area of Addison County, with many homes in its district having long, steep, and often tight driveways or access roads.

When the department decided to replace its 1980 mini pumper it used for water supply and carrying supply hose, it settled on purchasing a custom-built 4×4 vehicle with a front-mount pump. It ultimately chose KME to build the vehicle.

“We currently carry 4-inch supply line on our apparatus but wanted to upgrade in the future to 5-inch hose, so we designed the truck to hold up to 1,500 feet of 5-inch hose on a Hannay hydraulic reel,” says Dean Gilmore, second assistant chief and head of the department’s truck committee.

In addition, Gilmore notes, because of the many steep and winding driveways and roads in town, it’s often difficult to get a full-size pumper up them in winter. So, the idea of a front-mount pumper in 4×4 made sense to the truck committee.

Gilmore says the committee researched the apparatus in various departments around the area and sat down with a series of vendors to see what type of vehicle could be built for New Haven.

“Some manufacturers either couldn’t or wouldn’t build a front-mount pumper, so we developed two bid specifications, one for a front-mount and one for a midship-mount pumper,” Gilmore says.

Four apparatus makers quoted on the midship pumper specs—Pierce Manufacturing, Smeal Fire Apparatus, Sutphen Corp., and HME Ahrens-Fox. KME was the only manufacturer to submit a bid for the front-mount pumper.

The committee—which included two truck captains, another assistant chief, a department charter member, the treasurer, and the newest department member—decided to go with KME and the front-mount pump.

Tim Besser, factory branch sales manager at KME’s Latham, New York, facility, states that one of the department’s concerns was that “it often had to nose its apparatus into dry hydrants or other static water sources, so members had a strong comfort level with a front-mount pump.”

But, one of the issues facing KME was protecting the pump from exposure to difficult winter conditions. “We built an enclosure around the pump and also supplied a pump house heater in the enclosure, as well as extra insulation,” Besser points out. “We had to protect that pump because it’s not uncommon for [that department] to experience temperatures of 30 degrees below zero.”

Besser adds that the enclosure is angled so no engine cooling capacity is lost while driving the pumper, and it also allows the cab hood to be tilted for maintenance. The top of the pump enclosure can be removed for servicing the pump.

Jason Witmier, pumper and tanker product manager at KME, says placing the large-diameter hose reel on the back of the rig was one challenge the manufacturer faced.

“We mounted the reel on the sub frame of the body on top of the frame rail to get it down as low as possible and make it easier to pay on and feed out hose,” Witmier says. “The reel sits behind the square 300-gallon water tank.”

KME also built a transectional compartment above the rear wheels of the apparatus so the department could carry four 8-foot lengths of suction hose in an enclosed space.

In addition, KME faced a tight overall height restriction. Because of changes by International, the chassis it received was four inches higher than expected. This caused KME to build a custom light bar that tucks under the cab visor.

“We wanted to be sure they could get the apparatus in and out of their station, especially in the winter when snow and ice might build up on the firehouse apron,” Witmier said.

The rig also carries two Hannay reels, one per side, each holding 400 feet of 1¾-inch attack lines, as well as a 6,000-watt Onan generator on top of the hosebed.

Witmier calls the pumper “a unique apparatus,” with its manufacture being “fairly seamless once we figured out how to package everything the department wanted.”

Gilmore notes that the New Haven firefighters are pleased with the pumper’s performance so far. They took delivery in March of this year.

“The first call it went on after it was delivered was a mutual-aid call that got canceled before we got there,” Gilmore says. “But the next call it went on was for an old torn-down barn that got torched. We pumped 23,650 gallons of water with the pumper on that call and have no problems with its performance in any regard.”

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.

New Haven (VT) Fire Department
Strength: 30 volunteer firefighters; one station; providing fire suppression, rescue, and hazardous materials protection.
Service area: Mostly rural area covering the town of New Haven and surrounding towns with 52 miles of roadways, and mutual aid with 17 departments in Addison County. Population of the fire district is approximately 2,000.
Other apparatus: 2000 Pierce pumper, 1,500-gpm, 1,000-gallon tank; 1995 Freightliner tanker, 2,200-gallon tank, no pump; 1980 Chevrolet one-ton, 1,000-gpm pump, 300-gallon tank; 2005 Hackney utility rescue truck; and Haz-mat Decon trailer.

KME Pumper for New Haven, VT

  • International 7400 SFA 4×4 chassis and cab
  • 53-inch flatback, 3⁄16-inch aluminum body
  • 316-inch overall length
  • 163-inch wheelbase
  • 115-inch overall height
  • 330-hp MaxxForce 9 diesel engine
  • Allison 3000 EVS transmission
  • Hale 1,250-gpm front-mount pump
  • 300-gallon polypropylene water tank
  • Hannay hydraulic reel at rear holding 1,500 feet of 5-inch hose
  • Two Hannay attack reels, each holding 400 feet of 1¾-inch hose
  • Four 8-foot lengths of hard sleeve
  • 6,000-watt Onan PTO hybrid generator
  • Whelen warning lights


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