The Franklin-Bingham (MI) Fire Department is a combination department covering a suburban community five miles north of Detroit with three paid full-time firefighters, six paid part-time firefighters, and 18 volunteer firefighters, operating out of a 1950s-era firehouse with arched front bay doors and limited apparatus bay lengths. So, the new engine the department wanted to purchase would have to be limited in its overall length in order to fit in the station but still meet a set of demanding specs in terms of equipment on the rig.
Tony Averbuch, Franklin-Bingham’s chief, says the department carries a lot of equipment on its apparatus. “We take pride in being able to deliver the service needed and wanted to design this pumper to suit a particular purpose,” Averbuch says. “There are no hydrants in three quarters of our district, and the nearest mutual-aid tanker support is 30 minutes away, so we wanted an engine that carries 1,000 gallons of water and also a 2,000-gallon portable water tank. And in order to get the pumper to fit in the station, it couldn’t be any longer than 30 feet 6 inches.”
Franklin-Bingham had bought a Rosenbauer aerial quint from Emergency Vehicles Plus a few years previously, so the department went back to Emergency Vehicles to see if it could fulfill its needs for an engine. Bill Sedlacek, Emergency Vehicles salesman, says the department’s requirements on length, tank size, portable tank storage, specialized equipment storage, as well as extra intakes and discharges were challenging, but that Rosenbauer rose to the occasion and took care of all Franklin-Bingham’s needs with a custom pumper on a Commander cab and chassis with seating for four firefighters. “Rosenbauer was able to give the department all the elements they wanted on the pumper,” Sedlacek says, “and put it all on a vehicle that met their overall length restrictions.”
The Franklin-Bingham engine that Rosenbauer built is powered by a Cummins 450-hp L9 diesel engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission and has a 20,000-pound Steertek front axle and a 27,000-pound Hendrickson air ride rear suspension with Telma retarder. “The pumper has a Waterous CSUC20 1,500-gpm pump, a diagrammic pump panel, a 1,000-gallon polypropylene water tank, a 30-gallon integral foam tank, and an FRC TFC 100 single-agent foam system,” notes Roger Parker, central regional sales manager for Rosenbauer. “It has a 5-inch front intake scalloped into the front bumper to allow hard suction to be attached, a 2,000-gallon portable water tank in a tunnel on the left side of the pumper, a ladder tunnel on the right side holding a 24-foot two-section extension ladder, a 14-foot roof ladder, a 10-foot attic ladder, and two pike poles and four coffin compartments on top.”
Averbuch points out that Franklin-Bingham had Rosenbauer install two EMS compartments in the cab that are accessible from both inside and outside, a backboard compartment over the crosslays, as well as a transverse compartment between L4 and R4 that holds the department’s HURST Jaws of Life hydraulic tools on slide out trays. “We also have three crosslays on removable trays, two 1¾-inch hoselines and one 2½-inch,” he says, “and a 1¾-inch handline in the front bumper. Our hosebed carries 800 feet of 4-inch LDH and 400 feet of 2½-inch hose, there’s a 2½-inch discharge at the rear, a 5-inch rear suction, and also a 4-inch direct tank fill intake off the back.”
Averbuch adds that the engine has Whelen LED emergency lighting, a Whelen rear arrow stick LED light, Go lights on each side of the cab, a Mars light in the front grill, and a Fox Fury Nomad portable LED scene light.
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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.