The Mokena (IL) Fire Protection District has added a side-mount custom pumper built by Alexis Fire Equipment Company to its fleet of vehicles, tweaking the design from its current pumpers for some elements while standardizing others to mirror those rigs.
Howard Stephens, Mokena’s chief, says the fire district’s strategic plan calls for apparatus replacement after 15 years of front-line service. “A 2000 Seagrave pumper came up for replacement, so we formed a truck committee late in 2013 of three lieutenants, three engineers, and an assistant chief,” Stephens says. “They put together the specs, sent them to bid, and Alexis won the bid because it was able to balance our needs at our budgeted price.”
The fire district serves portions of four communities with a population of about 17,500 in 12½ square miles from three stations with 34 paid firefighters.
Mokena’s other apparatus include a 2009 Alexis pumper with a 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump and 1,000-gallon water tank, a 2007 HME pumper with a 1,500-gpm pump and a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 2008 Pierce 100-foot aerial ladder with a 1,500-gpm pump and 1,000-gallon water tank, a 2001 SVI heavy rescue, a utility truck carrying 165 gallons of ATC 1% AFFF foam, a Chevy 2500 brush truck, two Chevy 2500 pickup trucks, and four ambulances with Horton boxes (three on International chassis and one on a Freightliner chassis).
“We kept the same general layout on our new Alexis pumper as on our others but changed some elements too,” Stephens points out. “For example, historically our pumpers have had slam-type doors, but for this one we went with ROM roll-up doors. We also added a 2½-inch rear discharge, had lower crosslays and forward facing seats put in, [spec’d] LED water indicators on both sides and at the rear, and put attic ladders and pike poles in a rear compartment so firefighters wouldn’t have to take the ladder rack down to get to them.”
Because a small portion of the fire district doesn’t have hydrants, the committee incorporated space for a 1,000-gallon portable water tank in the hosebed. The hosebed also carries 1,000 feet of five-inch large-diameter hose (LDH).
Jeff Morris, president of Alexis Fire Equipment Company, says Mokena Fire “was great to work with because they knew exactly what they wanted and how they wanted the pumper built, which fits right into our program.” Morris notes that the Mokena truck committee wanted a hosebed that is 78 inches off the ground and preconnect floor heights at 64 inches off the ground. “We also fine-tuned the body for them because they had a specific design for compartments of certain size in order to carry particular equipment,” Morris adds.
The pumper is built on a 2015 Spartan cab and chassis with an all stainless steel body and pump house, has seating for four firefighters, and is powered by a Cummins 450-horsepower ISL9 diesel engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission. The rig has a Waterous CSU 1,500-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon water tank, five 2½-inch, one three-inch, and one four-inch discharges, an Akron Brass Apollo deck gun, three Mattydale preconnects (two 1¾-inch and one 2½-inch), a front bumper 1¾-inch preconnect, and a Task Force Tips Blitzfire oscillating portable monitor.
Overall height of the vehicle is 10 feet, eight inches; overall length is 34 feet, four inches; wheelbase is 199 inches;, and cab-to-axle distance is 145 inches. The pumper has a 52,500 gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), and axle ratings of 21,500 pounds for the front and 31,000 pounds for the rear.
Turtle Tile covers the floors, shelves, and trays in the vehicle’s compartments, and the pumper has a Zico hydraulic ladder rack on its right side and a Treadplate electric hosebed cover. It also features a Command Light Knight light tower with six 750-watt FRC halogen lights, a Whelen LED 12-volt scene lighting package, Whelen LED warning lights, a Mars warning light at the front, an Onan 7.5-kW diesel generator with a 120-volt system, a Kussmaul 1200 onboard battery conditioner, a Federal Q2B mechanical siren, a Whelen electronic siren, and an Audiovox rear camera system with a sven-inch monitor.
Stephens had high praise for Alexis and its pumper-building process. “They are about a three-hour drive away from us so we were able to check out the pumper as it was being built. Plus we got a weekly report and photos during the build process,” Stephens says. “Alexis was on top of everything, and our truck committee put together a fantastic engine for the front-line firefighters to use for the next 15 years.”
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.