The Albany (NY) Fire Department was in need of replacing a walk-around rescue truck that had a lot of hard use and was getting worn down. The truck came up next on the department’s replacement plan, so the truck committee met with several vendors, got specs and drawings of custom heavy rescues, and figured out what they wanted to satisfy Albany Fire’s rescue needs.
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“Vander Molen Fire Apparatus brought us a Rescue 1 demo rig for our guys to drive and give their opinions on,” says Craig D. Wickham, Albany Fire’s deputy chief. “We were aware that Rescue 1 is a quality builder, that it’s a true custom shop, so we were pleased when they were the company chosen as a result of the city’s RFP.”
Nick Catalino, Vander Molen’s sales manager, who sold the truck to Albany along with general manager Larry Gates, says the Rescue 1 truck was Albany Fire’s first interaction with his company. “We learned that their main goal was to maximize space on the rescue truck and organize their equipment,” Catalino points out. “What they chose was a Spartan Metro Star MFD chassis and cab with a 10-inch raised roof powered by a 450-hp Cummins L9 engine, and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission, with Meritor front and rear axles.”
Chad Newsome, Rescue 1’s national sales manager, says Albany’s walk-around heavy rescue truck has a wheelbase of 204 inches, an overall length of 34 feet 4 inches, and overall height of 9 feet 8 inches. “The truck’s cab has seating for six firefighters in H.O. Bostrom seats, five of them in SCBA seats, and a Spartan occupant protection system,” Newsome says. “The vehicle has a walk-around 24-foot aluminum body with drop skirts on both sides, two ROM transverse trays side-by-side in the L1 and L2 transverse compartments, and single ROM slide trays in the half depth L2 and R 2 compartments. There’s a SlideMaster 2000 slide-out in the rear compartment; a side staircase on the right side of the rig; enclosed ladder storage with one 28-foot, two-section extension ladder, one 14-foot roof ladder, and a 10-foot attic ladder; and a street-side absorbent compartment with an air-actuated dispensing valve.”
Wickham points out that Albany Fire made a number of modifications to the demo unit that was on Rescue 1’s production line. “We adapted the SlideMaster tray at the rear for a Stokes basket,” he says, “made modifications to the slide-out trays to accommodate modules of our equipment, used the space under the forward-facing seats in the cab for brackets to hold short roof hooks and halligan bars, and had mounts installed on the engine tunnel to hold the crew’s hand lights.” He adds that his committee also added a compartment to the truck’s extended front bumper to hold the department’s Paratech struts and accessories.
Newsome notes that the Albany heavy rescue truck has a 35-kW Onan PTO generator, a Whelen Freedom LED light bar, Whelen LED warning lights, Whelen LED under-bumper lights, seven Whelen Pioneer LED scene lights (two each side, two at the rear, and one brow light), and a Will-Burt Knight Scan light tower with six Whelen Pioneer LED light heads.
Albany Fire Department has 260 paid firefighters working a 24/72-hour schedule from eight firehouses, running eight engines (one a paramedic engine), four aerial ladders (three 100-foot tractor-drawn aerials and one 100-foot midmount platform), a heavy rescue company, three paramedic fly cars staffed with two paramedics, two battalion chief, three deputy chief, and one chief’s vehicles. Albany Fire responds to 26,000 calls a year, with 16,000 of those runs being EMS-related.
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.