|Alan M. Petrillo|
Bromley, Kentucky, is a small town of a half square mile with a fewer than 1,000-person population across the Ohio River from Cincinnati in Kenton County. One of the Bromley (KY) Fire Department’s main concerns, in terms of fire protection, is the BP Bromley petroleum tank farm situated along the river at Highland Heights.
|1 The Bromley (KY) Fire Department engaged Summit Fire Apparatus to build a 2,000-gallon foam tanker on a Sterling chassis with a 230-hp CAT engine an an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission, mainly for fire suppression at the nearby BP Bromley petroleum storage depot. (Photos courtesy of Summit Fire Apparatus.)|
The Bromley Fire Department is an all-volunteer agency, fielding three dozen active firefighters running out of one station with two pumpers and a tanker to handle fire protection for the city, as well as covering the BP petroleum tank farm.
“The BP tank farm distributes petroleum products that come into the area through the river, where they pump it into the tank farm from barges and tankers and send that product out to the surrounding areas,” says Donnie Jobe, chief of the Bromley Fire Department. “The BP facility is right along the river, and on the hill above it are eight tanks that each hold hundreds of thousands of gallons of product.”
Jobe says that after the Gulf Coast oil spill that involved BP, the company performed safety audits on each of its facilities and found that the Bromley tank farm was inadequate in terms of fire suppression. “They had been considering adding a foam tanker for a number of years,” Jobe says. “After the audit, they got together with us and we put them in touch with Summit Fire Apparatus, which came up with the design for the BP foam tanker.”
Designing the Rig
Joe Messmer, president of Summit Fire Apparatus, says that the Bromley Fire Department is about “15 minutes away from our facility, and we’ve done a lot of work with BP internationally for industrial purposes, so this was a good relationship for us.”
|2 The Summit foam tanker built for Bromley carries its foam in a fiberglass elliptical tank and has a FoamPro AccuMax 90 multiport foam system installed at the rear of the vehicle.|
Bromley had previously gone out to bid for a pumper in 2011, which was won by Summit, so there was a past connection too. The pumper is on a Freightliner chassis with a 315-hp Cummins engine, an Allison 3000 automatic transmission, a Hale 1,250-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, a 750-gallon fiberglass water tank, a Smart Power 6-kW generator, Whelen 600 series lights, a hydraulic ladder rack, and a double crosslay hosebed.
But, the foam tanker was destined to be much different. Messmer says he involved Chris Herman of BP Toledo, an acknowledged expert in refineries and foam protection, to put the right touches on the foam tanker. “We wanted to enhance the protection that the fire department could provide,” Messmer says. “We wanted to get something in the fire department’s hands that could push out a lot of foam when it needed it.”
The result was a 2,000-gallon foam tanker on a Sterling chassis with a 230-horsepower CAT engine and Allison 3000 EVS transmission. The vehicle carries its foam in a fiberglass elliptical tank and has a FoamPro AccuMax 90 multiport foam system onboard to deliver the foam through a Task Force Tips 1,500-gpm Hurricane deck gun that’s remote controlled.
|3 The FoamPro AccuMax 90 foam system on the Bromley foam tanker can flow foam in concentrations from one to six percent, and the ratio can be changed on the fly while flowing product.|
Jobe says the foam tanker was built without a midship pump, so it can flow foam without having a pumper hooked to it. “The pumping system can suck foam from static sources and it also can take foam from other places and put it on a fire,” he says. “We could take foam from a foam trailer or the reverse and pump foam into a crash truck or an industrial pumper.”
The Bromley Fire Department carries a small amount of large-diameter hose (LDH) on the foam tanker. “We have 200 feet of five-inch LDH to deal with the tank farm,” Jobe says. “There’s a municipal water tower 200 yards off the BP property. BP ran a huge hydrant line off it into its facility, so we are able to flow foam at static pressure without a pumper. But, the AccuMax gives us pressure beyond the static hydrant line.”
Jobe notes the wheelbase of the foam tanker was a consideration too, because of the tight spots among the BP storage tanks. “It’s tight in all the spaces around the tank farm,” he says. “There’s not a lot of traffic up there on the hill, but we needed to be able to get in and out of there where it’s very narrow, as well as have the steep grade to get up there in the first place.”
|4 The rear of the Bromley foam truck is set up with two discharges: a five- and three-inch. It also has dual intakes-one for static and one for pumped foam.|
Jobe says that although the Summit foam tanker is set up to run three percent aqueous film-forming foam, it can handle between one and six percent of a foam product. “We can change it on the fly once the pump is engaged,” he says. “It’s easy to change the ratio if you need to.”
Tank Farm Protection
There are a lot of lightning strikes at the Bromley tank farm, Jobe says, so BP has outfitted each tank with a floating roof. Each tank has a floating firefighting ring on top of the tank to prevent fuel from igniting. In case of a fire, the Bromley Fire Department would connect into a standpipe-type system and activate a jet drive in the piping that spins the foam product in the line to make sure it deploys correctly, smothering any fire through the ring at the top of the tank.
|5 The Bromley (KY) Fire Department’s foam tanker mounts a Task Force Tips 1,500-gpm Hurricane deck gun that’s remote controlled.|
“Fortunately, we’ve never had any fires here at the tank farm,” Jobe says. “So far, it’s been petroleum leaks or broken lines. But if there’s a fire, we’re ready for it.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.
Summit Fire Apparatus Foam Tanker
- Sterling chassis with aluminum body
- Two forward compartments with roll-up doors
- LED strip lighting in compartments
- 180-inch wheelbase
- 26-foot, three-inch overall length
- Nine-foot, 11-inch overall height
- 230-hp CAT diesel engine
- Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission
- 2,000-gallon fiberglass elliptical foam tank
- 12-foot-long foam tank
- FoamPro AccuMax 90 multiport foam system
- Task Force Tips 1,500-gpm Hurricane deck gun, remote controlled
- Five- and three-inch discharges at rear of vehicle
- All stainless steel mainifolds
- Dual intakes at rear-one for static and one for pumped foam
- 200 feet of five-inch LDH
Price without equipment: $250,000
Bromley (KY) Fire Department
Strength: 36 volunteer firefighters, one station.
Service area: Provides fire protection, rescue, and emergency medical service to Bromley (population: 828) and Kenton County in Kentucky, a mostly suburban area across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, Ohio. Bromley is home to a BP tank farm along the Ohio River that is a major receiving and shipping point for petroleum products.
Other apparatus: 2011 Summit Freightliner pumper, 1,000-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, 750-gallon water tank; 2002 Summit Freightliner pumper, 1,250-gpm pump, 1,200-gallon water tank; 2004 Ford ambulance; Sea Ark 26-foot outboard motor water rescue boat; Ford utility truck.