Apparatus, Petrillo, Pumpers

KME Pumper-Tanker Is Perfect for Riceville (NC) Fleet

Issue 5 and Volume 21.

By Alan M. Petrillo

Riceville (NC) Volunteer Fire Department needed a new pumper to replace a 1990 two-seat Emergency Equipment Inc. rig that had seen better days. But Chief Thad B. Lewis put limitations on the truck committee when it started preparing specs, namely a low overall height and a short overall length because of area topography and firehouse size issues; plus, the vehicle had to function as a tanker.

“Our bay doors are only 10 feet high, so we wanted a pumper with a maximum height of 9½ feet,” Lewis says, “and we have truck bays that are about 40 feet deep, so we wanted to see around a 27-foot overall length. The truck had to be maneuverable because of our very hilly district, and it had to serve as a tanker when needed.”

Lewis says the truck committee worked well within the restrictions laid out and developed a set of specifications that five manufacturers bid on. “The truck committee then determined the strengths and weaknesses of each of the bidders and noted what the bidders complied with and what they didn’t,” he says. “KME came the closest to matching everything we wanted, so it got the contract.”

1 The Riceville (NC) Volunteer Fire Department chose KME to build this short overall length, low-height, short-wheelbase pumper. Note the tight front bumper. The vehicle also lacks a backstep, having two pull-out platforms instead. (Photos courtesy of KME
1 The Riceville (NC) Volunteer Fire Department chose KME to build this short overall length, low-height, short-wheelbase pumper. Note the tight front bumper. The vehicle also lacks a backstep, having two pull-out platforms instead. (Photos courtesy of KME.)

The end result is a pumper-tanker on a KME Severe Service MFD cab with a 10-inch raised roof and seating for four firefighters, an overall height of 9 feet 5 inches, an overall length of 27 feet 7½ inches, and a wheelbase of 166 inches. The vehicle is powered by a Cummins 500-horsepower (hp) ISX 12 diesel engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission and has a Hale Qmax 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, a United Plastic Fabricating (UPF) 1,000-gallon water tank, a 20-gallon integral foam tank, and a Waterous Aquis 2.5 Class A foam system.

Ryan Slane, product manager for KME’s pumper-tanker group, says one of the ways KME shoehorned a 1,000-gallon water tank onto a short-wheelbase and short-overall-length vehicle is to extend the hosebed and tank to the edge of the truck’s body and raise it a bit higher. “With a full-width hosebed over the tank to the edge of the body, we got 14 extra inches for hose space,” Slane says. “Ladders were nested on the officer’s side, and the hosebed sits higher than is typical because we had to package the volume of the tank. But that was something Riceville was willing to do: have a higher hosebed with 1,000 gallons of water but still on a 166-inch wheelbase.”

2 The Riceville pumper has a Hale QMAX 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, a United Plastic Fabricating (UPF) 1,000-gallon water tank, a 20-gallon integral foam tank, and a Waterous Aquis 2.5 Class A foam system
2 The Riceville pumper has a Hale QMAX 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, a United Plastic Fabricating (UPF) 1,000-gallon water tank, a 20-gallon integral foam tank, and a Waterous Aquis 2.5 Class A foam system.

Lewis points out that in some areas of Riceville’s district, a 31-foot-long engine can’t make the turns, especially on hilly switchbacks. “We’ve identified those areas, and our new KME pumper-tanker is first due there,” he says. “The KME has the power to climb the hills and negotiate the switchbacks in the driveways, where a longer truck would get bound up and not be able to make the turn.”

Another shortening strategy that KME used on the pumper-tanker was to eliminate the vehicle’s backstep and replace it with two pull-out platforms. “The two retractable rear steps are 44 inches wide and 12 inches deep,” Slane points out. “They retract underneath the body manually on a set of slides and lock in. We split the rear step into two platforms to prevent jamming of a wider sliding unit.”

3 Two pull-out platforms take the place of a rear step on the back of the KME-built Riceville pumper. The rig also has nested ground ladders in a Zico electric ladder rack and a hosebed that holds 1,000 feet of four-inch large-diameter hose, 200 feet of three-inch hose, and two 150-foot lengths of 2½-inch hose.
3 Two pull-out platforms take the place of a rear step on the back of the KME-built Riceville pumper. The rig also has nested ground ladders in a Zico electric ladder rack and a hosebed that holds 1,000 feet of four-inch large-diameter hose, 200 feet of three-inch hose, and two 150-foot lengths of 2½-inch hose.

Slane says Riceville made sure that a Newton 10-inch dump valve was included on the rear of the vehicle so it could fulfill tanker functions when needed. “We don’t see a lot of dump valves on thousand-gallon pumper-tankers,” he notes. “Usually we find them on vehicles with tanks in the 1,250- to 1,500-gallon range.”

Because of the overall height limitation, KME got creative with storage of the pumper-tanker’s ground ladders. “We put a Zico single-arm electric ladder rack on the officer’s side that nests the ladders to reduce height,” Slane says. “It stores a three-section 35-foot extension ladder that overhangs the officer’s side pump house, a 14-foot roof ladder, and a 10-foot folding ladder.”

4 Riceville’s pumper-tanker has a short, functional front bumper to cut down on the overall length of the vehicle, something the department specified as necessary in the vehicle
4 Riceville’s pumper-tanker has a short, functional front bumper to cut down on the overall length of the vehicle, something the department specified as necessary in the vehicle.

The KME pumper-tanker also has a Will-Burt light tower with four FRC 1,500-watt halogen heads, a Whelen LED warning light package, Whelen LED 12-volt scene lighting, two Hannay electric cord reels, and an Onan Genset PTO/hydraulic 20-kW generator. “The generator is pretty large for a pumper,” Slane observes. “Usually we see a 10-, 12-, or 15-kW generator on a pumper, but Riceville wanted to have the extra power available.”

Inside the cab, Riceville had KME build a flat surface with a pass-through underneath the two rear-facing seats. “The pass-through has webbing to hold equipment for easy access,” Lewis says, “like medical bags and other equipment. On the surface, we mounted irons and have electrical outlets, as well as a surge protector so we didn’t have any wiring issues in the future. It’s a good use of the space for us instead of two additional seats.”

5 The rear of the KME-built Riceville pumper-tanker has two 2½-inch Firemen’s Friend direct tank fill connections.
5 The rear of the KME-built Riceville pumper-tanker has two 2½-inch Firemen’s Friend direct tank fill connections.

In addition, all the aluminum treadplate on the pumper-tanker is painted with black Line-X, including the cab interior, rub rails, front bumper, and pump panels.

Lewis notes that the department wanted as much storage on the pumper-tanker as could to fit. “I’m impressed with the amount of storage on that truck. KME was able to fit it with full-height and full-depth compartments, and it also has a transverse compartment at the back that will handle backboards and a Stokes.”

6 The cab interior on Riceville’s pumper-tanker is set up for four firefighters, with an equipment storage area with a pass-through taking up the area where two additional firefighter seats would have been
6 The cab interior on Riceville’s pumper-tanker is set up for four firefighters, with an equipment storage area with a pass-through taking up the area where two additional firefighter seats would have been.

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist and 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.

Riceville (NC) Volunteer Fire Department

Strength: eight paid full-time firefighters, 20 paid part-time firefighters, 22 volunteer firefighters; one station.

Service area: Provides fire protection, rescue, and emergency medical services in 14.4 square miles to a population of 4,900 people in an unincorporated area of Buncombe County, North Carolina, east of Asheville and west of Swannanoa. The fire protection area includes many subdivisions, housing developments, and working farms across a very hilly urban interface with many homes built into the woods.

Other apparatus: 2006 Rosenbauer pumper, 1,250-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, 1,000-gallon water tank, 30-gallon Class A foam tank; 2000 International pumper, 1,000-gpm pump, 500-gallon water tank, 30-gallon foam tank, compressed-air foam system (CAFS); 2005 4 Guys Freightliner tanker, 500-gpm pump, 1,800-gallon water tank; 2008 Dodge 4500 mini pumper/brush truck, 300-gpm pump, 300-gallon water tank, 20-gallon foam tank, CAFS; 2015 Dodge 4500 advanced life support (ALS) ambulance; 2008 Chevy 3500 ambulance; utility pickup truck; chief’s vehicle.

specs

Riceville (NC) Volunteer Fire Department KME Pumper-Tanker

  • KME Severe Service cab MFD with 10-inch raised roof and seating for four firefighters
  • Custom cab storage compartment for emergency medical services and crew gear
  • 136-inch length; 3⁄16-inch aluminum body
  • Full-height and full-depth body compartments
  • All aluminum treadplate painted with black Line-X, including cab interior, rub rails, front bumper, and pump panels
  • Overall length: 27 feet 71⁄2 inches
  • Overall height: 9 feet 5 inches
  • Wheelbase: 166 inches
  • 21,480-pound front axle
  • 27,000-pound rear axle
  • Cummins 500-hp ISX 12 diesel engine
  • Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission
  • Hale Qmax 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump
  • United Plastic Fabricating (UPF) 1,000-gallon water tank
  • 20-gallon integral foam tank
  • Waterous Aquis 2.5 Class A foam system
  • Task Force Tips wireless remote control 1,250-gpm monitor and nozzle
  • Three 13⁄4-inch single-stack, lowered preconnects
  • Hosebed capacity of 1,000 feet of four-inch large-diameter hose, 200 feet of three-inch hose, and two 150-foot lengths of 21⁄2-inch hose
  • Newton 10-inch rear dump valve
  • Two rear 21⁄2-inch Firemen’s Friend direct tank fills
  • Two rear pull-out platforms in place of rear step
  • Zico single-arm electric ladder rack with ladders nested in body to reduce vehicle overall travel height
  • Onan Genset PTO/hydraulic 20-kW hydraulic generator
  • Will-Burt vertical mast light tower with four FRC 1,500-watt halogen heads
  • Whelen LED warning light package
  • Whelen LED 12-volt scene lights
  • Two Hannay electric cord reels

Price without equipment: $526,000