Danko Emergency Equipment was building a pumper-tanker demo unit to display at FDIC International 2019 when the chief of the East Fork (KY) Fire Department learned about it. The chief and some of the truck committee checked out the progress being made on the pumper-tanker and got the approval to purchase the rig and have some alterations made to meet the department’s needs.
“The chief was happy with most of the features and equipment on the pumper-tanker,” says David Knobbe, apparatus salesman for Danko, “but wanted to put their own stamp on it. The department added a two-tone color scheme to the truck, a Federal Q2B mechanical siren, Onspot automatic tire chains, and an Akron Brass 3423 1,250-gpm monitor.”
The pumper-tanker is built on a Freightliner M2 chassis and two-door cab and is powered by a 7.7-L, 375-hp Detroit DD8 engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission. Its front axle rating is 14,600 pounds, and its rear axle rating is 27,000 pounds. Knobbe notes the vehicle carries a Hale RSD-J 1,250-gpm PTO pump, a 2,000-gallon water tank, a 20-gallon foam cell, and a SmartFOAM 2.1A Class A or B foam system. Wheelbase is 216 inches, overall length is 28 feet 9 inches, overall height is 10 feet 8 inches, and overall width is 8 feet 8 inches.
Joe Childers, East Fork’s chief, points out that the East Fork’s fire district covers 52 square miles in three counties in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in northeast Kentucky. “We are a rural fire district and have one station with 24 volunteer firefighters,” Childers says. “Our other apparatus are two 2008 Pierce Manufacturing rescue-pumpers, one on a Kenworth chassis, and the other on a Freightliner chassis with a four door cab; a 1995 Freightliner four-door pumper-tanker with a 1,500-gpm pump and a 2,000 gallon water tank; a 2013 Ford Expedition EMS assist vehicle; a 2009 Ford pickup; and a UTV hauled on a trailer to ATV accidents in a 1,500 acre ATV park.”
Childers notes that East Fork had been running two 2,500-gallon tankers built on 1989 former military chassis, “but there were safety concerns about the lack of baffling in the tanks. Plus, the vehicles were in poor condition and were getting undependable. We needed a tanker quickly and found that Danko builds tankers and pumper-tankers as stock units, which meant we only had to wait 60 days to replace our two old tankers with the new pumper-tanker.”
The pumper-tanker has two crosslays holding 250 feet of 1¾-inch hose each, and a front bumper line of 250 feet of 1¾-inch hose. The unit’s hosebed carries 600 feet of five inch LDH, Childers says, noting that the department’s other pumper-tanker is set up for the same amount of hose, while its two rescue-pumpers carry the same configuration of crosslays and front bumper lines but have 200 feet of 5-inch LDH and 400 feet of 3-inch hose in their hosebeds. The new pumper-tanker also has a Newton dump valve at the rear with a Danko manual swivel and a Task Force Tips intake ball valve with a 5-inch Storz fitting and adapter to 2½-inch NST at the rear for direct tank fill.
The pumper-tanker also has a Zico PTS-HA hydraulic folding tank carrier that holds a 2,100 gallon portable tank and two lengths of hard suction, a Whelen Freedom LED light bar, Whelen LED M2 and M6 warning lights, six Whelen Pioneer scene lights (two each side and two at the rear), a Whelen TL85 LED traffic advisor, and a Rosco backup camera.
“The Danko pumper-tanker works as well as our first-due engine with its attack lines and foam capability,” Childers observes, “and we also use it as our mutual aid truck because it’s so versatile.”
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.