The Pumpkin Center (MO) Volunteer Fire Department was awarded a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to purchase a new pumper-tanker to replace an old pumper-tanker that it had acquired from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Danko Emergency Equipment had been monitoring the FEMA grants, and when salesman Steve Borts saw that Pumpkin Center had been awarded a grant, he cold called the fire department and met with them a week later to review their specs and their vehicle wish list. “We figured out what we could do for them, put together a proposal, and presented it to Pumpkin Center,” Borts points out. “They accepted our proposal and became a new customer for us.”
David Boone, Pumpkin Center’s chief, says the department has 18 volunteer firefighters and four EMT responders that operate out of one station to cover a population of approximately 4,200 in 60 square miles of residential, agricultural, and forest territory. Besides the new pumper-tanker, Pumpkin Center also runs a 2005 Sterling pumper with a 1,250-gpm pump and 1,000-gallon water tank and two brush trucks with slide-in pump units, each carrying 250 gallons of water. “We needed a vehicle that could carry 3,000 gallons of water and wanted a vehicle with at least a 1,000-gpm pump and the ability to do pump-and-roll operations.”
The resulting pumper-tanker that Danko built for Pumpkin Center is on a Peterbilt Model 348 chassis and two-door cab powered by a PACCAR PX-9 450-hp engine and an Allison 3000 EVS-P automatic transmission. The rig has a 20,000-pound wide track front axle, a 44,000-pound rear axle, a 3/16-inch aluminum body, and hot dipped galvanized steel tubing undercarriage. All compartments are outfitted with LED strip lighting and covered by roll-up doors.
Borts notes that the pumper-tanker has a Hale 1,000-gpm Sidekick pump, a 3,000-gallon polypropylene water tank, a Class 1 TPG+ pressure governor, and an electronically controlled Newton rear 10-inch swivel dump valve. The rig has two 1¾-inch crosslays of 200 feet each, two 2½-inch discharges, one 4-inch discharge, a 2½-inch gated inlet and a 5-inch steamer on the left side, and one 4-inch discharge on the right side. The pumper-tanker also has a booster reel carrying 150 feet of one-inch lightweight hose, two electric front ground sweep nozzles that flow 100 gpm at 100 psi, and two electric rear ground sweep nozzles flowing 100 gpm at 100 psi.
Pumpkin Center’s pumper-tanker also carries a 24-foot two-section extension ladder and a 14-foot roof ladder on the driver’s side in a rack and a 10-foot folding ladder and two pike poles behind a folding 3,000-gallon portable tank rack on the right side. The vehicle has a Whelen LED warning light package and six Whelen LED flood/spot scene lights.
Borts points out that one of the challenges Danko faced was a height requirement. “This is a department that had an older, smaller station with a 10-foot door height,” he points out, “so, we used up every inch of what we were allowed and came in with an overall height of 9 feet 10 inches and an overall length of 29 feet 6 inches on a tandem rear axle.”
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.