Cottleville (MO) Fire Protection District covers a sprawling 40-square-mile suburb 30 miles northwest of St. Louis with 57 paid full-time firefighters operating out of four stations, running 4,000 calls annually. The district switched over in 2002 from running a dedicated rescue truck to three rescue-pumpers and a rescue-aerial to service its 100,000-daytime population. Just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, the district began looking to replace four rescue-pumpers and one aerial.
“We had our truck committee established prior to COVID and looked at other fleets in the St. Louis region,” says Craig Tihen, Cottleville’s assistant chief. “Our rigs are set up to handle rescue situations, carrying struts, air bags, hydraulic rescue tools, Stokes baskets, and high-angle rescue equipment, essentially everything that we could have done with a rescue truck.”
“We talked with departments that had E-ONE, Pierce, and Rosenbauer fleets, getting information about their apparatus and the maintenance of them,” he says. “Ultimately, we went to H-GAC (the Houston-Galveston Area Council cooperative purchasing program) and bought four Pierce PUC pumpers and one Pierce Ascendant 110-foot aerial platform.”
Tihen notes that his district has a lot of subdivisions with narrow, tight streets, so the department wanted a pumper with a shorter wheelbase than their existing rigs, and got that shorter wheelbase with PUC pumpers without sacrificing storage space. “We also were concerned about the hose bed height for our large diameter hose (LDH) and wanted water tank capacity of at least 650 gallons. Pierce was able to keep the hose bed low and give us a 700-gallon water tank.”
Andy Klein, Missouri sales manager for MacQueen Emergency, who sold the rigs to Cottleville, says the four rescue-pumpers are built on a Pierce Velocity chassis, powered by a 525-horsepower (hp) Detroit Diesel DD13 engine, and an Allison 4500 EVS automatic transmission, with TAK-4™ independent front suspension, and side roll and frontal impact protection, carrying a PUC™ 1,500-gallons-per-minute (gpm) single-stage pump, and a 700-gallon water tank.
The Velocity’s cab seats five firefighters, three in forward-facing seats against the back wall, with two EMS (emergency medical services) cabinets accessible from the exterior in place of rear-facing seating, and has the Carcinogen Awareness and Reduction to Exposure (CARE) cab customization that includes vinyl seats and an aluminum floor, Klein points out. Each rescue-pumper also has HiViz™ electronic LED headlights with a halo flashing system, a wireless controlled Will-Burt light tower, Whelen LED warning light system, and Whelen LED Pioneer scene lighting. Compartments are covered by ROM rollup doors.
Tihen says that the rescue-pumpers are carrying 1,000 feet of 5-inch LDH in a flat load in the hose bed, with 400 feet of 3-inch hose in two stacks of 200 feet each, one of which is prepiped to a ground monitor. Above the midmount PUC pump, the rigs carry 200 feet of preconnected 2-1/2-inch hose, two 200-foot preconnects of 1.88-inch hose, and a 50-foot 2-1/2-inch dead lay. “We also have a 1,250-gpm Apollo High Riser deck gun with a hydrovalve that allows the pump operator to do a knockdown as a one-person operation,” he observes.
The Ascendant 110-foot heavy-duty aerial platform is on a Velocity chassis with a steel ladder on a single rear axle, with a 1,500-gpm pump, and a 500-gallon water tank, powered by a 525-hp Detroit Diesel DD13 engine, and an Allison 4500 EVS automatic transmission, with a TAK-4 independent front suspension, side roll and frontal impact protection, and CARE cab customization, Klein notes.
The platform, which has a three-outrigger system, carries a remote control 1,250-gpm Task Force Tips Monsoon monitor at the tip, and ground ladders consisting of one 35-foot extension ladder, one 28-foot extension ladder, two 24-foot extension ladders, two 16-foot roof ladders, one 14-foot roof ladder, and one Little Giant ladder.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Ariz.-based journalist, the author of three novels and five non-fiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including the position of chief.