The Stamford (CT) Fire Department was in the market for a rear-mount aerial ladder to replace one of the three aerials in its fleet, so it put together a committee to develop the specs for the kind of rig it wanted. But before the department could award a bid, its 100-foot midmount aerial platform had to be taken out of service because of potential ladder failure issues, throwing the department’s entire aerial purchasing process into limbo. “We couldn’t be without a tower ladder,” says Eric Lorenz, Stamford’s deputy chief. “We hadn’t awarded a bid for the rear-mount ladder we had spec’d, so the chief asked me to explore getting a new tower ladder, especially if we could get added onto another department’s bid or get on a government buying program.”
At the time, the Stamford Fire Department was running nine engines—six HME pumpers with 1,500-gallon-per minute (gpm) pumps and 750-gallon water tanks and three KME pumpers with 1,500-gpm pumps and 1,000-gallon water tanks. It also ran an HME 100-foot rear-mount aerial ladder, a Sutphen 100-foot midmount aerial ladder, and a Sutphen 100-foot aerial platform, as well as an HME heavy rescue truck.
Lorenz says he learned Stamford’s sister department, the Stratford (CT) Fire Department, had awarded a bid for an aerial platform to Seagrave, so he contacted the Seagrave dealer, Hudson Valley Fire Equipment, and got added to the bid. “We were able to buy the aerial on the GSA federal pricing program,” Lorenz says. “The government programs work sort of like a menu, where you start with the truck at the stripped price and then begin to add approved options.”
In the end, Stamford purchased a Seagrave Marauder II 95-foot Aerialscope midmount platform on a tandem-axle chassis, powered by a 500-horsepower Cummins ISX 12 diesel engine, and an Allison 4000 EVS six-speed automatic transmission. Overall length of the vehicle is 45 feet, seven inches; overall height is 11 feet, two inches; and wheelbase is 247 inches. Price on the vehicle was $1.159 million.
“This is a true truck,” says Santo Curro, president of Hudson Valley Fire Equipment, who sold the vehicle to the Stamford Fire Department. “It has no pump or water tank, but has a lot of other equipment that makes it special.” Curro notes the aerial has a liftable and towable 18-inch extended front bumper, a Meritor Wabco front axle, a Meritor Wabco RT-58-185 tandem rear axle, antilock braking, an inter-axle differential, Meritor Wabco electronic roll stability, automatic traction control, and a SKS 24-point automatic chassis lube system.
He adds that the truck has all Whelen LED warning and scene lights, including a Whelen Pioneer 12-volt brow light, Whelen M6 scene lights on the sides of the cab, and Whelen Pioneer scene lights in the basket and on the top deck of the truck.
“One of the unusual parts of this truck is what’s called the ‘whale tail,'” Lorenz adds. “It’s an extension off the back of the frame rails, like a giant skid plate fashioned out of heavy tubular steel. It starts behind the rear wheels and runs to the back bumper to protect the body on angle of departure issues. It extends beyond the back edge of the body and rounds the corners to form like a steel bumper.”
Lorenz says the truck also has a Telma brake retarder. “Historically our apparatus used a Jake brake, but because this truck is 80,000 pounds, we looked into an additional braking device. The Telma brake retarder is a magnetic coil that the drive shaft passes through, and when electrical energy is added, it creates a magnetic field that slows the drive line at the drive shaft itself. It’s all automatic and has four stages, so it can be programmed to be as aggressive as you want it to be.”
In choosing a master stream device for the tip of the platform, Lorenz and other committee members spent a day at FDNY mechanics’ shops talking with them about the monitors they use on their Seagrave 75-foot and 95-foot aerial platforms. “Akron Brass makes an Apollo FDNY model monitor where they can unpin the gun and it rocks forward allowing it to spray 90 degrees up into the air or 90 degrees below and can turn 180 degrees left and right,” Lorenz says.
Curro points out that the monitor on the Stamford platform is an Akron Brass Apollo 3432 severe duty unit that will flow 1,250 gpm.
The truck uses one set of six-foot-spread outriggers on its center line, and 12-foot spread H-style jacks at the front bumper and behind the rear wheels. “You can pull a lever and all six jacks will come down automatically,” Lorenz points out. “We can set this truck up in 30 to 45 seconds.”
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.