Compartment Corner: Saddle River (NJ) Fire Department’s Pierce Engine 1131

Today, the department is equipped with new and updated apparatus—a far cry from a horse-drawn wagon with a tank on it.

By Mike Ciampo

Saddle River is located in Bergen County, NJ, and is a suburb of New York City. The borough has many historic homes and large mansions sitting on acres of land. Many celebrities call it home due to the fact it is close to the city yet has a country setting. At one time President Nixon was a resident of this town. The borough is only 25 miles from the city, making it an easy commute into Manhattan. The borough is protected by the Saddle River Fire Department, which was established in 1912.

Like many early fire departments, members were summoned to the firehouse when a gong was struck with a hammer. Many of these gongs were made by heating and bending a section of railroad track into a circular ring and can still be found near many firehouses around the country today. Saddle River’s original firehouse was a barn, where members would respond with their horses after hearing the gong’s distinct alarm. The first member to hook up their horses to the wagon, which carried a tank of water, was paid $5 for the horse team’s service.

Today, the department is equipped with new and updated apparatus—a far cry from a horse-drawn wagon with a tank on it. Its new 2019 Pierce Enforcer was designed to not only be an engine but also allow it to carry rescue tools and equipment. The rescue pumper has some uniquely designed compartments as well as graphics; Fire & Safety Services, LTD of South Plainfield helped the members design—and sell to the department—the apparatus.

The Enforcer has a 10-inch raised roof tilt-cab on an 84-inch chassis. The rig is powered by a Detroit Diesel DD13 2016 EPA complaint engine and Allision EVS4500P automatic transmission. The rig also has TAK-4 independent front suspension and a Super Z automatic tire chain system. The fire pump is a Waterous CSU 2,000-gpm single-stage pump and gets its water from a 1,000-gallon Poly Water tank.

The rig is also equipped with an Akron Eductor single agent foam system and Akron Deck Master Monitor with a TFT Extend-a-Gun. The hydraulic ladder rack is on the officer’s side and carries the following Duo-Safety ladders: 35-foot, three-section extension ladder; 14-foot roof ladder; and 10-foot folding ladder. There’s a Little Giant Model 13 stored in one of its compartments, which rounds out the ladder complement.

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For warning purposes and lighting, the rig has numerous Whelen warning lights mounted all around the body. The bar light on top of the cab is a Whelen Freeddon IV LED model. On each side of the crew cab are Whelen water level indicator lights and recessed warning lights in the front bumper. Also mounted on top of the cab is a HiViz Fire Tech LED visor light for scene lighting.

Behind the American Flag-painted front grill of Engine 1131, there are Techniq LED warning lights, which give the grill a bright appearance. There are also Fire Research scene lights mounted on each side of the body of the apparatus. In addition to these warning devices, the rig is equipped with dual Grover air horns and a Federal Q2B siren, which are recessed in the front 22-inch stainless steel bumper.

The extended bumper also has two hose troughs, one on the officer’s side for a 25-foot section of 5-inch hydrant hook-up, and one on the chauffeur’s side which holds 150 feet of 1.75-inch hose. Another nice addition to the cab is the chrome bell added to the front of the rig, which carries on the tradition of many departments.

The cab of Engine 1131 has some regular features such as Retrac remote heated mirrors and Kussmaul auto-eject air and shoreline power receptacles. The roof’s top is painted black, and the rest of the rig is painted red. The cab and body also have some very distinctive items on it; on the area behind the jump seat door, a beautiful mural is painted. The painting resembles their original “Iron Horse” water tank mounted on the horse-drawn wagon.

Crew cab windows have the company’s patch etched into them. Above the pump panel, a unique logo is cut into the stainless-steel pump housing. Running along the lower portion of the cab are three reflective stripes, two thinner gray lines run above and below the larger black line. The stripes then do an “S” on the first compartment and then run about mid-way up the compartments to the rear of the apparatus.

The rear of the rig has the NFPA-compliant safety chevrons and a hosebed which carries the following complement of hose: 1,500 feet of 5-inch; 1,000 feet of 3-inch; 250 feet of 2.5-inch; and 250 feet of 1.75-inch.

There are three cross-lay hose beds, two carry 200 feet of 1.75-inch and the other carries 200 feet of 2.5-inch. The rig’s hard suctions are carried in a compartment on the rear of the rig; they are two 10-foot sections of 6-inch hose. Another water appliance on the apparatus is an Akron Deck Master 3440 monitor with a TFT XG extend-a-gun mounted above the pump.

The two larger rear compartments on the rescue engine carry a variety of tools. On the chauffeur’s side, it’s set up for auto-extrication. The compartment has Holmatro battery-operated extrication cutters and spreaders. The spare batteries are also stored in chargers mounted on the back wall of the compartment.

Cribbing and a pail of absorbent is also on the extrication shelf. Stored below this portion of the compartment are two Blowhard cordless exhaust fans and a large TFT water manifold. The officer’s rear compartment carries a complement of gas- and battery-operated rotary and chainsaws. There is one stationary shelf and one roll-out shelf. Below the shelves, the Little Giant step ladder is stored. A tool box, battery chargers, spare bar oil, blades, and fuel are also stored in this compartment.

Engine 1131 will proudly serve the citizens of Saddle River for years to come and make the firefighters’ job much easier.

MICHAEL N. CIAMPO is a 36-year veteran of the fire service and a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York. Previously, he served with the District of Columbia Fire Department. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is the lead instructor for the FDIC International Truck Essentials H.O.T. program. He wrote the Ladders and Ventilation chapters for Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I and II (Fire Engineering, 2009) and the Bread and Butter Portable Ladders DVD and is featured in “Training Minutes” truck company videos on He also writes the back page column ON FIRE in Fire Engineering.

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