Apparatus, Petrillo, Rescues, Wildland Urban Interface

Illinois Fire District Specs Combination Quick-Attack/Brush Truck/First-Response Vehicle

Alan M. Petrillo

The McNabb (IL) Fire Protection District was seeking to purchase a combination vehicle that could be used as a quick-attack pumper, a brush truck, and a first-response rescue vehicle in its primarily rural and agricultural protection area. McNabb firefighters scouted out a number of types of vehicles from several manufacturers and eventually determined that Alexis Fire Equipment was the apparatus maker they wanted to work with.

Alan M. Petrillo

“We went with Alexis because of their sales team as well as their location and the service they provide,” says Bradley P. Popurella, chief of McNabb. “One concern we had was that if any issues developed with the vehicle, we wanted a company that understands the issues facing a small, rural fire department, which Alexis does. Plus, the Alexis factory and service center is only one and a half hours away from us.”

DEMO UNIT ADDRESSES NEEDS

Popurella says he had been talking with Stan Froelich, the Alexis sales representative, about the specifications for a combination vehicle and that Froelich mentioned Alexis was finishing up building a demo unit that had the hallmarks of what McNabb seemed to be looking for. “We went out with Stan and toured the Alexis plant and were able to see the truck he told us about as it was being built,” Popurella points out. “We found they had put together exactly what we needed, so we decided on the Alexis truck.”

Scott Morris, vice president of Alexis Fire Equipment, says that the McNabb Fire Protection District was a past Alexis customer for equipment but not apparatus. “We had come up with a design that had a new personnel carrier behind the cab called Attack Zone, where the firefighters can be seated, belted, and protected by a roll cage and gates,” Morris says. “We had started building a demo incorporating the new personnel carrier when the McNabb firefighters started talking with us. They liked the feature that had the firefighters safely protected while still able to use a hoseline discharge adjacent to them.”

Alexis Fire Equipment built this quick-attack/brush truck/first-response rescue truck for the McNabb (IL) Fire Protection District.

1 Alexis Fire Equipment built this quick-attack/brush truck/first-response rescue truck for the McNabb (IL) Fire Protection District. (Photos courtesy of Alexis Fire Equipment.)

The McNabb quick-attack truck has a Darley 1.5 AGE pump with a 20-hp gasoline engine for pump-and-roll capabilities, a 300-gallon water tank, and a 10-gallon foam tank.

2 The McNabb quick-attack truck has a Darley 1.5 AGE pump with a 20-hp gasoline engine for pump-and-roll capabilities, a 300-gallon water tank, and a 10-gallon foam tank.

Morris says the rig features two seats, back-to-back, along the centerline of the vehicle and facing out but protected by split metal gates. “There’s a one-inch handline for each belted position,” he says. “The positions are behind the 60-inch cab but don’t affect the wheelbase on the vehicle.”

specs

Alexis Fire Equipment Quick-Attack/Brush Truck/First-Response Vehicle

  • Ford F-550 XL 4×4 four-door DRW chassis and 60-inch cab with seating for four firefighters
  • 126-inch wheelbase
  • 22-foot 9-inch overall length
  • 8-foot 7-inch overall height
  • 7,000-pound front axle
  • 14,706-pound rear dual-tire axle
  • 19,500-pound GVWR
  • Darley 1.5 AGE pump-and-roll pump with 20-hp gasoline engine
  • 300-gallon water tank
  • 10-gallon foam tank
  • Alexis Attack Zone behind cab with seating for two firefighters and roll cage protection
  • Two one-inch booster lines with 10 feet of hose in Attack Zone
  • One 2½-inch discharge and one 1¾-inch discharge at rear
  • One Hannay booster reel with 150 feet of one-inch hose
  • One 2½-inch gated suction
  • Alexis custom stainless steel brush guard with electrically controlled Akron Brass forestry turret and two spray booms under the front bumper
  • Code 3 LED warning light package
  • Code 3 LED scene light package
  • Code 3 electronic siren

Price without equipment: $153,897

TRUCK SPECS

The combination vehicle is built on a Ford F-550 XL 4×4 four-door DRW chassis and cab powered by a 300-horsepower (hp) Ford Power Stroke 6.7-liter V8 diesel engine and a Ford TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission. The rig has a heavy-duty 3⁄16-inch aluminum body, Luverne Black Baja four-door cab steps, and an Alexis designed and built custom stainless steel brush guard with an integrated Akron Brass turret and two spray booms—all electrically controlled from the cab.

The McNabb vehicle has a 176-inch wheelbase and is 22 feet 9 inches long and 8 feet 7 inches high. It has a 7,000-pound front axle rating, a 14,706-pound rear axle rating, a 19,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), a Code 3 electronic siren with two 100-watt Code 3 speakers, a Code 3 LED warning light package, and a Code 3 LED scene light package.

The quick-attack for McNabb features an Alexis designed and built Attack Zone that has two back-to-back belted seats, facing outward, protected by a roll cage and split metal gate and has two one-inch booster lines with 10 feet of hose each.

3 The quick-attack for McNabb features an Alexis designed and built Attack Zone that has two back-to-back belted seats, facing outward, protected by a roll cage and split metal gate and has two one-inch booster lines with 10 feet of hose each.

The front of the McNabb quick-attack unit has an Alexis designed and built custom stainless steel brush guard with an integrated Akron Brass turret and two spray booms, all electrically controlled from the cab.

4 The front of the McNabb quick-attack unit has an Alexis designed and built custom stainless steel brush guard with an integrated Akron Brass turret and two spray booms, all electrically controlled from the cab.

The Alexis quick-attack truck for McNabb is built on a Ford F-550 XL 4x4 four-door DRW chassis and cab powered by a 300-hp Ford Power Stroke 6.7-liter V8 diesel engine and a Ford TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission.

5 The Alexis quick-attack truck for McNabb is built on a Ford F-550 XL 4×4 four-door DRW chassis and cab powered by a 300-hp Ford Power Stroke 6.7-liter V8 diesel engine and a Ford TorqShift six-speed automatic transmission.

In addition to the two booster lines in the Attack Zone, the McNabb quick-attack pumper also has a Hannay reel with 150 feet of one-inch booster hose and a 2½-inch and 1¾-inch discharge at the rear.

6 In addition to the two booster lines in the Attack Zone, the McNabb quick-attack pumper also has a Hannay reel with 150 feet of one-inch booster hose and a 2½-inch and 1¾-inch discharge at the rear.

A close-up look at the Alexis-designed Attack Zone protected by a roll cage and split metal gates.

7 A close-up look at the Alexis-designed Attack Zone protected by a roll cage and split metal gates.

The Attack Zone features two one-inch booster lines, each with 10 feet of hose.

8 The Attack Zone features two one-inch booster lines, each with 10 feet of hose.

Four large compartments give the McNabb truck the ability to be used as a first-response rescue vehicle as well as a quick-attack and brush truck.

9 Four large compartments give the McNabb truck the ability to be used as a first-response rescue vehicle as well as a quick-attack and brush truck.

The rig has a Darley 1.5 AGE pump with a 20-hp Honda gasoline engine for pump and roll, a 300-gallon water tank, a 10-gallon foam tank, two one-inch booster lines with 10 feet of hose for each seat in the Attack Zone, one 2½-inch and one 1¾-inch discharge at the rear, and a Hannay reel with 150 feet of one-inch booster hose.

Froelich notes that the combination vehicle “has the Alexis ultimate off-road package that includes larger than average tires on the front axle and aggressive tread tires on the rear dualies.”

Popurella adds that McNabb requested the lift kit and big tires on the rig. “They allow us to take the vehicle deep into a muddy field and get access along some of the tree lines that otherwise might not be accessible with standard four-wheel drive vehicles,” he says. “Our drivers like the ground clearance on the new truck too and the fact the cab is set up to accommodate four firefighters with plenty of room in the crew area. The vehicle has excellent balance and weight distribution.”

Froelich says, “When the McNabb people came out to the plant, we showed them the truck, they took it out and pumped it, went over it very carefully, and then went out for an RFP, which eventually was awarded to Alexis. They especially liked the fact that it has the roll cage and seating area behind the cab where firefighters can ride and be compliant with today’s NFPA standard of being seated and belted and protected by a roll cage and front bars when the truck is in motion.”

department

McNabb (IL) Fire Protection District

Strength: 14 firefighters, one station.

Service area: Covers predominantly rural and agricultural area of 176 square miles in Putnam and LaSalle counties in Illinois with a population of approximately 5,600 people.

Other apparatus: 1996 Pierce pumper, 1,250-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon water tank; International tanker, transfer pump, 3,500-gallon water tank; 1986 Ford mini pumper, skid unit pump, 350-gallon water tank; Polaris ATV, skid pump, 30-gallon water tank, patient backboard.

EXTINGUISHING CAPABILITY

Popurella agrees that the Alexis Attack Zone was most impressive to his firefighters. “We can go to a scene where we have a good amount of area burning and have a driver plus one or two firefighters in the Attack Zone put out a ton of fire between the firefighters behind the cab and the Akron Brass turret and the ground sprayers up front,” he says. “One of the issues we face is staffing, so even if we have only a driver on the truck, he can turn on the turret and sprayers and knock down a lot of fire before getting the automatic mutual-aid companies in to the scene to help.”

He adds, “We have a lot of agricultural businesses and the chemical companies that service them, and we cover a lot of space in Putnam and LaSalle counties. This vehicle allows us to get out to them quickly and handle issues in a fast and efficient manner.”


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.