By Alan M. Petrillo
The St. Charles (IL) Fire Department, located in the western suburbs of Chicago, runs a fleet of three engines and an aerial ladder made by Pierce Manufacturing, so when it wanted to replace an engine, it turned again to Pierce to build the unit.
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“We started with Pierce in 2010 when we bought a 100-foot Arrow XT aluminum ladder quint with a 750-pound tip load, a 1,500-gpm pump, and a 750-gallon water tank,” says Steve Dries, a St. Charles lieutenant. “Then we got a 2015 Pierce Dash CF engine with a 189-inch body and a 2017 Dash CF pumper, also with a 189-inch body.”
The newest Pierce engine built for St. Charles is a PUC pumper on a Dash CF chassis and 214-inch mega-body, according to John Schultz, Pierce’s director of pumper and custom chassis products. “This longer body lends itself to heavy-duty rescue applications,” Schultz says. “It has full height and depth compartments on both sides, has ladder storage in a tunnel through the water tank, and maximizes overall storage to allow multiuse as a rescue-pumper.”
The Dash CF PUC pumper has a wheelbase of 223 inches, an overall length of 35 feet 9¾ inches, an overall height of 8 feet 9 inches, is powered by a 450-hp Cummins L9 diesel engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission, and carries a 1,500-gpm single stage PUC pump and a UPF Poly 750-gallon water tank.
John Kenna of Macqueen Group, who sold the PUC pumper to St. Charles, says the department chose the PUC configuration because it accommodates multiuse so easily. “All their engines are rescue-pumpers,” Kenna says, “and by going with the PUC, they were able to get additional storage space on the vehicle, especially with the 214-inch-long body. They wanted to have the vehicle carry engine, truck, and rescue equipment.”
Dries points out that each of the department’s three stations houses a Pierce rescue-pumper, with station 1 having the new PUC that is set up for fire suppression and rescue, station 2 having a Dash CF rescue-pumper that’s set up for fire suppression and as a hazmat engine, and station 3 housing a Dash CF rescue-pumper handling fire suppression and technical rescue. The department has 44 paid firefighters and 12 contract paramedics to staff an ambulance.
The rescue-pumper has an extended front bumper with a 5-inch intake, a crosslay of 150 feet of 1¾-inch hose, and a Federal Q2B siren. The rig’s PUC pump is situated under the cab, and above it are three crosslays and one dead lay—two 200-foot 1¾-inch crosslays on a bottom level, and a 200-foot 2½-inch crosslay and 200 feet of 1¾-inch hose dead lay on a top level.
The unit’s hosebed is set up for three storage areas, two carrying 500 feet each of 2½-inch and the third for 1,000 feet of 5-inch LDH, all covered by a hard-shell hosebed cover that has storage for two backboards and a Stokes basket underneath.
The cab’s interior is set up with seating for four firefighters in Pierce PS6 seats, with the officer’s seat and two forward-facing outboard seats being SCBA seats. The cab also has two 26- × 40- × 30-inch EMS cabinets, one on each side, that are accessible from both the interior and exterior and covered by roll-up doors.
Schultz points out that the rescue-pumper’s compartments are set up with adjustable slide-out trays, tool boards, and peg boards. “There are four coffin compartments on top, with two electric hose reels, one each side, in them,” he says, “and a 150-pound capacity oil dry hopper in the coffin area that terminates on the officer’s side close to the exhaust. The vehicle also has a Harrison 8-kW generator and a Will-Burt Chief light tower that has a simulated cab roof to cover it.”
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.