The Franklin Park Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, needed to replace a 25-year-old pumper-tanker and turned to 4 Guys Fire Trucks to put together the custom pumper-tanker it required. Franklin Park’s fire district covers about five miles of Interstate 79 and another five miles of Interstate 279, which Gary Scheller, the company’s chief, terms the largest accident and hazmat-potential area for the department.
Gary Scheller, Franklin Park’s chief, says that the interstates are the reason for the large size pump and water tank on the fire company’s previous and its now-current 4 Guys pumper-tanker. “We need to be self-sufficient out there,” Scheller says. “We want to be sure our firefighters have the tools and the equipment they need to handle any situation they are faced with on accident or fire scenes.”
In addition to the interstates, Franklin Park’s fire protection area is made up of about ¾ residential, including many planned housing and townhouse communities, as well as a series of restaurants, two strip malls, several office buildings (some up to six stories), a nursing home, two schools, and eight churches.”The district is 15 miles north of Pittsburg, covers 14 square miles with a population of about 15,000, and has 60 volunteers with 30 active firefighters working out of two stations.
“With our new pumper-tanker, we reduced the cab to seat six firefighters instead of ten like on our prior pumper-tanker,” Scheller says, “but kept the pump and tank size the same. We added two eight-inch dump valves on the new truck, one each in between the rear wheels because we didn’t have them on the earlier truck and found there were times when we would have liked to have them to make the truck more versatile.”
Ron Vezzani, regional sales manager for 4 Guys Fire Trucks, says 4 Guys built the pumper-tanker on a Spartan Gladiator LFD cab and chassis with a Cummins ISX-12 500-hp engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission. The rig carries a Hale QMAX-175 1,750-gpm pump, a UPF 1,500-gallon water tank, a 25-gallon integral Class A foam tank, and a Hypo FoamPro 3012 foam system.
Wheelbase on the rig is 244 inches; overall length is 38 feet, seven inches; overall height is 10 feet, four inches; front axle is rated at 23,000 pounds and the rear axle at 40,000 pounds; and its GVWR is 60,000 pounds. Scheller points out that the vehicle only weighs 56,000 pounds, even though the GVWR is much higher. “We wanted to have a reserve capacity for weight on this truck,” he says.
Scheller notes that the top-mount pump was new to Franklin Park. “But because we are on the interstates so much, we wanted to get the pump operator up off the road and out of harm’s way,” he says. “Plus with the top-mount, he has good 360-degree vision of what’s going on at the fire scene. He can see everything he needs to.”
The pumper-tanker carries speedlays under the pump console, Scheller says, including two 200-foot lengths of 1¾-inch hose and one 200-foot length of hose, all in removable trays. There’s 200 feet of dead lay 2½-inch hose on top of the pump house, 100 feet of preconnected 1¾-inch hose in the front bumper, and an Elkhart Stinger monitor with a 1,250-gpm Select-o-Matic nozzle as the deck gun.
Vezzani points out that the pumper-tanker has a relatively low hosebed height. “Two thirds of the water tank sits up from the center line of the tandem axles,” he notes. “That means the bottom of the hosebed is 65 inches off the ground, which makes it fairly easy to get to—one of the easiest we’ve built to get to from the ground.”
The pumper-tanker, delivered to Franklin Park in September of 2015, cost $650,000 without equipment, Vezzani says. “These kinds of trucks are our niche where we combine different elements to give the fire department exactly what it wants,” he says. “We are able to make changes on the fly without bankrupting the department because we’re so flexible in working with our customers.”
Franklin Park’s new vehicle also carries a Command Light tower, a Lucas combi rescue tool, and a hydraulic ladder rack on the right side of the truck.
The fire company’s fleet of apparatus also includes a 1996 Sutphen pumper with a 1,750-gpm pump and 900-gallon water tank, a 2000 Freightliner medium rescue, a 1979 Mack pumper-tanker with a 1,500-gpm pump and 2,500-gallon water tank, a 1970 GMC brush truck with a 250-gpm pump and a 250-gallon water tank, three chief’s vehicles, a 2006 Ford pickup truck for fire police, and three additional utility pickup trucks.
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.