The Antonia (MO) Fire Protection District needed to replace one front-line engine that was more than 20 years old and a second front-line engine because it had difficulty getting replacement parts. Special requirements on Antonia’s new engines were that all its apparatus had to be able to be housed in Fire House 1, the oldest in the district with small engine bays and limited space.
“Our Station 1 is an old firehouse that has been renovated and added onto, but we still were dealing with space issues because of how tight it is and its small engine bays,” says Kevin McCart, Antonia’s captain. “The longest engine we could get in there would be 31 feet long, and the height restriction was nine feet nine inches maximum overall height. So, we spec’d out a rear-mount pumper that was 30 feet 8 inches long and at the maximum overall height we could accommodate.”
McCart points out that with the department’s restricted footprint for the engine, the apparatus committee felt that a rear-mount pump was a good idea because of the compartment space gained in the center of the vehicle. The disadvantage, he adds, is that the rig has a higher hosebed. The department met with several manufactures, and McCart says it “chose Precision because they could give us what we wanted, and their manufacturing facility is only three hours away from our firehouse.”
Travis Higginbotham of Precision Fire Apparatus says the 31-foot limit on the vehicle’s overall length was the biggest challenge Precision faced with the build. “They were adamant on the length of the engine, but it’s a big deal when they required a rear-mount pump which takes up more space in the back of the vehicle and also the 1,000-gallon water tank. With the water tank, we had to drop it in and slide it to the left, so that the pumper’s driver’s side has step compartments, while the officer’s side has full-depth and full-height compartments.”
After Precision began building the pumper for Antonia, the truck committee made several visits to the factory. McCart says that the committee was so impressed with the pumper that it ordered a second engine from Precision to be built to the same specs but with full-height and full-depth compartments on the driver’s side. “We had two 2004 American LaFrance pumpers that were very hard to find parts for, so we decided to retire one of them and put the other in reserve,” he points out.
The first Antonia pumper off Precision’s line is on a Spartan Metro Star chassis and cab with seating for five firefighters, powered by a Cummins ISL9 450-hp engine, Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission, and carrying a Hale RME 1,500-gpm pump, UPF Poly 1,000-gallon water tank, 30-gallon Class B foam cell, 20-gallon Class A foam cell, and a FoamPro 2000 foam system.
The rig has an extended front bumper with a raised lid that houses 150 feet of 1¾-inch hose, 50 feet of three-inch hose, 100 feet of one-inch forestry hose, and a five-inch front suction. A transverse compartment behind the cab holds one 200-foot two-inch hose crosslay, two 1¾-inch crosslays of 200 feet and 150 feet, and two 100-foot two-inch hose bundles. The engine has three 2½-inch discharges and a four-inch LDH discharge at the rear, and a Fireman’s Friend 2½-inch direct tank fill.
The hosebed holds 1,000 feet of five-inch LDH and 500 feet of three-inch hose dead load connected to a Task Force Tips Blitzfire nozzle. On top of the engine is a Task Force Tips Crossfire deck gun operated by an electric valve on top and with its own tank level gauge. The rig has a full complement of Holmatro rescue tools, rescue struts, and air bags, as well as rope rescue equipment, all located on the driver’s side. The officer’s side of the engine is devoted to fire suppression equipment.
Antonia’s second rear-mount engine from Precision has most of the elements of the first pumper except it does not have a front suction or a Fireman’s Friend valve, has only a 30-gallon Class B foam cell, and has a 750-gallon water tank. However, it carries two 6,000-psi air bottles, an air cascade control panel, and a regulator to fill air bottles on a scene.
Both vehicles have eight SCBA bottles in wheel well compartments as well as dry chemical and water chemical extinguishers. Each is outfitted with a Command Light tower, a 6-kW Harrison generator, Whelen LED warning and scene lights, a Whelen LED brow light, two Whelen LED spotlights, and Whelen LED rub rail emergency lights.
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.