Aerials, Apparatus, Petrillo, Pierce

Pierce Ascendant Tiller Quint for the Santa Maria City (CA) Fire Department

Issue 4 and Volume 24.

 
Special Delivery Alan M. Petrillo
 

Pierce Ascendant Tiller Quint for the Santa Maria City (CA) Fire Department

The Santa Maria City (CA) Fire Department had seen a big housing boom in the city and wanted to replace its 110-foot 1999 Hi-Tech LTI aerial ladder that had 100,000 miles on it. While the department was waiting for funding, it formed a seven-person truck committee that researched aerial manufacturers and neighboring fire agencies to determine the various truck options available.

The department was able to get an Assistance to Firefighters Grant for $988,410 in July 2017, and the city came up with the rest of the money to make up the $1.4 million purchase price for a Pierce Manufacturing Ascendant® 107-foot heavy-duty tiller quint.

FIRST-TIME TDA CUSTOMER

Christopher Rehs, a Santa Maria City captain and member of the truck committee, says the Pierce Ascendant is the department’s first tractor-drawn aerial (TDA). “The biggest advantage of the tiller is its maneuverability,” Rehs points out. “With the turntable in the middle of the truck, we can access areas in our city that our straight stick couldn’t, and it lets us get in a lot closer in tight-access places like a college campus and various apartment buildings.”

Tim Smits, senior sales manager for aerial products at Pierce Manufacturing, notes that the tiller quint concept is becoming more popular around the country. “With many departments trying to do more with less, the value of a TDA with a pump, a water tank, 500 cubic feet of compartment space, and the ability to carry up to 260 feet of ground ladders can’t be underestimated,” Smits points out.

1 Pierce Manufacturing Inc. built this 107-foot Ascendant® heavy-duty tiller quint for the Santa Maria City (CA) Fire Department on an Arrow XT™ chassis with an aluminum body powered by a Cummins 565-hp X15 engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission. (Photo courtesy of Pierce Manufacturing Inc.)

2 The tiller quint works a large nighttime fire. (Photos 2-10 courtesy of Andrew Klein.)

3 The vehicle has a Hale DSD 1,500-gpm midship pump and a 300-gallon water tank.

department

Santa Maria City (CA) Fire Department

Strength: 48 paid firefighters on duty daily covering three shifts; five stations.

Service area: The Santa Maria City Fire Department provides all risk emergency services, public education programs, fire prevention, and life safety measures to the city’s 108,470 residents. The department provides emergency services that include prehospital emergency medical services at the emergency medical technician I level; response to structural, vehicular, and vegetation fires; hazardous materials response; and water and trench rescue.

Other apparatus: Four High-Tech Fire Apparatus Type 1 engines, one SVI heavy rescue, one High-Tech Type 3 engine, one breathing support vehicle, two aircraft rescue and firefighting trucks dedicated to the Santa Maria Public Airport station, and several reserve Type 1 engines.

RIG FEATURES

The tiller truck for Santa Maria City is powered by a 565-horsepower (hp) Cummins X15 engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission, Smits says. It carries a Hale DSD 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) single-stage pump, a 300-gallon water tank, and a 6-kW Onan hydraulic generator. Wheelbase on the tractor is 183 inches, wheelbase on the trailer is 362 inches, the vehicle’s overall length is 61 feet 7¾ inches, and its overall height is 11 feet 2 inches. The aerial has a 107-foot vertical reach and a 100-foot horizontal reach and can operate from -10o to +77o.

 4 The monitor at the tip of the tiller quint is an Akron StreamMaster 1,500-gpm model.

4 The monitor at the tip of the tiller quint is an Akron StreamMaster 1,500-gpm model.

5 The tiller quint carries both Holmatro hydraulic rescue tools and HURST eDRAULIC rescue tools.

5 The tiller quint carries both Holmatro hydraulic rescue tools and HURST eDRAULIC rescue tools.

 6 Ground ladders are carried in an enclosed tunnel including a 40-foot three-section extension ladder, two 35-foot two-section extension ladders, one 24-foot two-section extension ladder, a 16-foot roof ladder, and a folding attic ladder. A 10-foot roof ladder is carried on the fly section of the aerial.

6 Ground ladders are carried in an enclosed tunnel including a 40-foot three-section extension ladder, two 35-foot two-section extension ladders, one 24-foot two-section extension ladder, a 16-foot roof ladder, and a folding attic ladder. A 10-foot roof ladder is carried on the fly section of the aerial.

 7 The hosebed on the driver’s side of the tiller quint carries 600 feet of four-inch LDH.

7 The hosebed on the driver’s side of the tiller quint carries 600 feet of four-inch LDH.

8 The rear tiller cab.

8 The rear tiller cab.

9 The aerial controls at the turntable.

Rehs says that compartment space was another important consideration for Santa Maria City’s truck committee when choosing the tiller. “We carry a full complement of Holmatro hydraulic tools and HURST eDRAULIC tools on the truck, as well as three different rope systems,” he says. “We got the built-in rigging system at the tip of the aerial where we can run a high pick point or do a flying Stokes, and we also have a rope tie-off bar at the base of the aerial.” Also at the tip of the ladder is a 1,500-gpm Akron 3480 StreamMaster monitor and a Whelen Micro LED scene light.

Another advantage to the tiller quint, Rehs says, is its faster setup time. “With two outriggers instead of four, we have seen a huge difference in our setup time,” he points out. “And, the overall outrigger footprint of the tiller is smaller than our previous truck; it weighs less, has a shorter overall length, and has greater visibility.” In addition, he says, the driver’s side hosebed carries 600 feet of four-inch large-diameter hose.

specs

Pierce Manufacturing Tractor-Drawn Aerial

  • Arrow XT™ chassis
  • 107-foot Ascendant® heavy-duty tiller
  • Aluminum body
  • 61-foot 7¾-inch overall length
  • 11-foot 2-inch overall height
  • 183-inch tractor wheelbase
  • 362-inch tiller wheelbase
  • Cummins 565-hp X15 engine
  • Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission
  • Hale DSD 1,500-gpm midship pump
  • 300-gallon water tank
  • Slide-out trays and adjustable tool board in compartments
  • Onan 6-kW hydraulic generator
  • Akron 3480 StreamMaster 1,500-gpm monitor at aerial tip
  • Lifting eye rope rescue attachment at aerial ladder tip
  • Lyfe Pulley rescue system at aerial ladder tip with rope tie bar at base section
  • 12-volt power and Whelen Micro LED at aerial ladder tip
  • Two-way intercom system between aerial ladder tip and turntable
  • LED lighting on aerial ladder sections
  • Air inlet with disconnect coupling on driver’s side pump panel
  • Whelen LED warning lighting
  • Whelen Pioneer LED scene lights

Ground ladders on the tiller are all Duo Safety models, says Smits, encased in a ladder tunnel through the torque box. These include one 40-foot three-section extension ladder, two 35-foot two-section extension ladders, one 24-foot two-section extension ladder, a 16-foot roof ladder, a folding attic ladder, and a 10-foot roof ladder on the fly section of the aerial. Rehs points out that Santa Maria City carries the 40-foot three-section extension ladder “to get the extra four feet of length because the second-due ladder truck is coming from at least 15 minutes away, so its greater reach is for firefighter safety, although it does take four firefighters to throw the ladder.”

10 The tiller quint flows water through its master stream during a drill.

Jon Holmes, the salesperson at South Coast Fire Equipment Inc. who sold the vehicle to Santa Maria City, says the rig has Pierce’s TAK 4 rear suspension on both the tractor’s rear axle and the trailer’s rear axle. “The TAK 4 suspension gives the vehicle a better cramp angle and also a better quality of ride,” Holmes observes. He adds that the tiller quint carries Whelen LED 12-volt and 120-volt warning lighting systems, Whelen Pioneer LED scene lights, and a Whelen LED light bar.

LEARNING CURVE

Rehs notes that one of the biggest hurdles Santa Maria City had to overcome was getting everyone trained to drive the tiller. “It requires a driver-operator 1A and a commercial driver’s license,” he says, “and an engineer who can drive one of our engines has to be tiller-qualified in order to drive only the tractor. We wanted to start out with a culture of safety with the new tiller, so we partnered with Response Training Group in Seattle, Washington, for a week-long class to train the trainers. And, the Orange County (CA) Fire Authority and the Oxnard (CA) Fire Department each loaned us a tiller so we could start driver training.”

The Pierce tiller quint went into service in July 2018 and runs first out on fires, rescues, and medical calls from Santa Maria City’s Station 1, its busiest station. Rehs adds that the tiller “has been a workhorse from the day it went in service. That first day in service we had a large defensive fire where we used the master stream,” he says. “It has worked a large furniture store fire for master stream work and at other fires to put firefighters on the roof.”

 

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.