Alan M. Petrillo
The South Torch Lake (MI) Fire Department wanted to replace a pumper and a tanker (tender) to protect its 17-square-mile district at the southerly end of Torch Lake in Helena Township, Michigan, and decided that each of the vehicles should be classified as Type 1 apparatus.
After researching the products offered by several apparatus manufacturers, the department selected Spencer Manufacturing to build a rescue-pumper and a pumper-tanker.
South Torch Lake Chief Jesse Lane says the department wanted each vehicle to be built on a custom chassis, have as short an overall length as possible, and be a multipurpose rig. “We also wanted to be able to carry a lot of large-diameter hose (LDH) on each vehicle, and Spencer was able to give us hosebeds that each carry 1,000 feet of LDH. That gives us a total of 2,000 feet, which gets us a hoselay from the lake water to our main downtown area,” Lane says.
South Torch Lake has a year-round population of approximately 1,500 residents, which swells during the summer months to about 5,000 people, Lane explains. “We have 12 paid on-call firefighters in the department who operate out of one station, covering a mostly residential community, but with a central area of some commercial, a large lumberyard, and a marina,” Lane notes. “Building each vehicle as a Class A (Type 1) rig means we can put fewer apparatus out the door with fewer on-call firefighters, giving us more resources with fewer vehicles. Having two Type 1 vehicles also helps with our Insurance Services Organization rating.”
The rescue-pumper Spencer built for South Torch Lake is on a Spartan Metro-X MFD (medium four-door) chassis and cab with seating for six firefighters, carrying a Hale Qmax 1,500-gallon per minute (gpm) rear-top-mount pump, a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 30-gallon foam cell, a Hale FoamLogix 5.0 foam system, and a Hale SmartCAFS compressed-air foam system (CAFS). The rescue-pumper’s wheelbase is 182 inches, overall length is 32 feet 9 inches, and overall height is 9 feet 8 inches.
Spencer Manufacturing Rescue-Pumper
South Torch Lake (MI) Fire Department
The Spencer pumper-tanker is built on a Spartan Metro-X MFD chassis and cab with seating for six firefighters and carries a Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm rear-top-mount pump and a 2,000-gallon water tank. Its wheelbase is 195 inches, overall length is 32 feet 9 inches, and overall height is 9 feet 7 inches.
Lane continues, “We were having some bigger homes being built in our district, so we need to bring a lot of water to a scene. Now we can roll out three trucks and have a total of 5,500 gallons of water on them, and with the pumper-tanker, we have the advantage of extra pumping capabilities on scene.”
Steve Buckner, direct salesman for Spencer Manufacturing, says the rear-mount pumps on the two vehicles help keep the overall length down as well as improve the turning radius. “A traditional top-mount or side-mount pump will add at least two feet to the overall length of a vehicle,” Buckner notes. “In South Torch Lake’s district, there are a lot of high-end second homes because it’s a vacationing community, and many of those homes have driveways that are long and tight. So, the department wanted the most maneuverable vehicles it could get without giving up pump size, water load, or hose load.”
Buckner says Spencer has built three rear-top-mount pumpers in the past, but the rescue-pumper for South Torch Lake is the first one that has CAFS. “The department is sold on using CAFS,” he says. “They have it on an existing pumper and wanted CAFS on their new rescue-pumper.”
Lane points out that with the CAFS rescue-pumper, “We use a lot less water at a fire and have the ability to pump through 2,000 feet of LDH and still maintain the water supply.”
The rescue-pumper also has a Class 1 Sentry governor, Akron Brass electric valves, a Trident dual auto air primer, a six-inch rear suction, an extended front bumper with two 1¾-inch hoselines along its full width, a Task Force Tips deck gun, a Task Force Tips 2½-inch Blitzfire nozzle, and two hosebeds with rollers on each side of the rear-top-mount pump panel (the left side carrying 1,000 feet of five-inch LDH and the right side holding three-inch and 2½-inch deadlay hose).
It also has an electric awning, a four-bottle cascade air system with a three-bottle fill station, ladder and suction hose storage through the water tank, Slide-Master heavy duty aluminum roll-out trays in the compartments, ROM roll-up doors, a Command Light Knight series 12-volt light tower, Whelen LED warning and scene lights, a Federal Q2B mechanical siren, a Warn 12,000-pound winch with winch receivers on all four sides, and D&S hosebed covers.
The pumper-tanker has a Class 1 Sentry governor, Akron Brass electric valves, a Trident dual auto air primer, a Newton 10-inch electric dump valve with a stainless steel swivel and extension, a four-inch Fireman’s Friend fast fill valve, an extended front bumper with a front LDH discharge and well for a 1¾-inch hoseline, a booster reel with 100 feet of one-inch hose, a Zico electric portable tank rack for a Fol-Da-Tank 2,500-gallon portable tank, and a hosebed of 1,000 feet of five-inch LDH.
Spencer Manufacturing Pumper-Tanker
Additionally, the pumper-tanker has ladder and suction hose storage through the water tank, Slide-Master heavy-duty aluminum roll-out trays, ROM roll-up doors, Whelen LED warning and scene lights, a Federal Q2B mechanical siren, a Warn 12,000-pound winch with winch receivers on all four sides, D&S hosebed covers, and a Spencer custom stainless steel rear ladder.
Lane says that the department is very pleased with both rigs. “We are building for the future and wanted vehicles with all the necessities on them,” he concludes. “For us, it was build big or go home, and we got two all-purpose fire trucks.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, 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.