As we have seen time and again, fire departments around the country tend to design and purchase fire apparatus that may be structured to operate in their individual response areas. Thinking outside the box, most times, creates a positive attitude for a department’s chief, officers, and firefighters to all work toward a common goal.
By Bob Vaccaro
In addition to this idea, many departments like to purchase fire apparatus from local, smaller manufacturers that may cater to their needs better than the big guns. One of these departments is the Arcadia Glencoe (WI) Fire Department.
The department’s operations are overseen by an eight-member Fire Board. Its membership consists of three representatives from the City of Arcadia, three from the Town of Arcadia, and two from the Town of Glencoe. They meet four to five times a year to discuss department needs and operations. Budget contributions are based on equalized assessed value.
The department augments what it gets from the three municipalities through fundraising. The department’s big event of the year is its annual chicken barbecue and brat fry held on Palm Sunday. The department also holds a spring dance and raffle.
1 The Arcadia Glencoe CustomFIRE Full Response vehicle is built on a Kenworth T88 chassis with stainless steel body. (Photos courtesy of CustomFIRE.)
2 The rig’s large driver-side compartments.
3 The pumper’s top-mount enclosed pump panel.
“The funding for our department is diverse,” states Chief Jeff Halvorsen. “We try to replace our apparatus on a 20-year cycle, but sometimes funding is an issue.”
“Our response district is also diverse for a community,” Halvorsen continues. “We cover 155 square miles with our 30 volunteer members. The district consists of the normal residential areas and strip shopping centers. But, we also have 66 acres of interconnected industrial buildings that contain the operations for Ashley Furniture and Pilgrim’s Pride Food. Four thousand people alone work at Ashley Furniture, and that contributes to a great deal of traffic on our roads in the area.”
PLANNING THE RIG
The department started planning for its new apparatus approximately three years ago. The committee sent out a request for proposal. During this process, members traveled and looked at six local deliveries to gain ideas for the new vehicle. “When the bids were received from four different manufacturers, we chose CustomFIRE,” says Halvorsen. “They met all of our specs and were willing to work with us on all of our ideas. We felt they would build us a vehicle that would not only last a long time but be easy to operate and train on. We preplanned the vehicle hoping there would be virtually no problems.”
Full-Response Top-Mount Pumper by CustomFIRE
- Kenworth T880 cab and chassis
- Cummins ISX12 500-horsepower engine
- Allison 4500 EVS transmission
- Interior pump panel
- Stainless steel body
- Roll-up compartment doors
- Waterous CMUC20 2,000-gpm midship pump
- FoamPro 2002 single-agent foam system
- FRC PumpBoss pressure governor
- 1,000-gallon water tank
- 30-gallon foam cell
- Front bumper extension with hosewell
- Removable speedlay hosebeds
- Hydraulic drop-down ladder rack
- Harrison 3-kW hydraulic generator
- 10-foot 4-inch overall height
- 36-foot overall length
- 21-foot 5-inch wheelbase
The new apparatus was built with a bigger pump—the department went from a 1,750-gallon-per-minute (gpm) to a 2,000-gpm pump. Additionally, members wanted more compartment space to enable the department to add more equipment in the future. “The truck is a little longer than our previous unit. It is 36 feet long from bumper to bumper to be exact. It has a hydraulic ladder rack, automatic fold-down steps, and a bigger hosebed.”
The truck carries 500 feet of four-inch large-diameter hose, 1,000 feet of 2½-inch hose, two 250-foot crosslays of 1¾-inch line, and a 200-foot 1¾-inch trash line. Also carried on the rig is a set of HURST eDRAULIC extrication tools as well as the normal engine company fittings, tools, and basic forcible entry tools.
4 A view of the interior pump panel.
5 The extended front bumper with covered tray for trash line.
CAB AND CHASSIS
Arcadia Glencoe decided to go with a commercial chassis and a top-mount fully enclosed pump panel so its motor pump operators are enclosed with heat for operating during brutal winters the area experiences and also be air conditioned for times of severe heat. It also has a stainless steel body to hold up while operating in the region’s sometimes severe winter environment. “The Kenworth T880 chassis was donated by Ashley Furniture,” says Halvorsen, “and the black color comes from the idea of matching their black and gold semi delivery trucks. Our department dealt directly with the factory for this purchase. The factory is only 2½ hours away, so traveling to do inspections was made easier for us. CustomFIRE was great to deal with in all areas. The quality and workmanship on the build was superior.”
The Arcadia Glencoe Fire Department was diligent in this recent apparatus purchase. It designed a vehicle that it would have in operation for the foreseeable future. It planned for the future use by designing for more compartment space, a bigger pump, a bigger hosebed, as well as added protection from cold weather and heat for its pump operators.
Planning for your immediate response district and, in some cases, mutual-aid areas as well as the future is something all fire departments should be concerned with. Just going with the flow and buying the biggest isn’t necessarily the greatest idea in these times—especially with cost-conscious municipalities around the country. Preplanning is the way to go with all of your big purchases.
BOB VACCARO has more than 40 years of fire service experience. He is a former chief of the Deer Park (NY) Fire Department. Vaccaro has also worked for the Insurance Services Office, the New York Fire Patrol, and several major commercial insurance companies as a senior loss-control consultant. He is a life member of the IAFC.