Apparatus Ideas: Clintonville (WI) Heavy Rescue

Apparatus ideas BOB VACCARO

Clintonville (WI) Heavy Rescue

Back in 1887, the Clintonville (WI) Volunteer Fire Company #1 was created. It was a far cry from the paid-on-call department that presently protects the 13,000 residents of Clintonville and the three townships of Bear Creek, Larrabee, and Matterson.


Clintonville Fire Department Chief Shane Krueger says, “The older city is a mixture of strip shopping centers, farm land, recreational land, industrial areas, two rivers, and a downtown area with a great deal of aged buildings. We also cover Routes 45 and 22 and have roughly 25,000 vehicles pass through the area during the day. To keep up with our growing response district, we try to replace our nine vehicles every 25 to 27 years, which breaks down to one piece of apparatus every three years. The project to replace our existing rescue took about three years to work on the specs and to get everyone’s input.”

The department was replacing a 16-foot Marion rescue and a smaller unit based on a Ford F-150 chassis. “Like most fire departments around the country, we were combining and doing more with less,” says Krueger. “We received bids from several manufacturers and chose Marion. They basically met all of our specs, and we have dealt with them on previous purchases and were comfortable dealing with them.”


The new vehicle was designed with a bigger rescue body that would not only hold all of the department’s present rescue tools but have room to expand. It also allows it to have a mobile cascade system for refilling self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) cylinders on scene; a light tower; and a 60-gallon water tank connected to an E.J. Metals ultra-high-pressure (UHP) system with a PTO-driven pump, mainly for covering MVAs. “Having this system on the rescue gives us the capability of having some firefighting tools should we have a car fire involved with an MVA without having to worry about responding with an additional engine should staffing be low,” adds Krueger. “We also moved all of the rescue tools we carried on our engines to the new rescue.”

The new rescue has specially designed coffin compartments that are two feet wide and six feet long that carry grain bin rescue tools. These custom-sized compartments carry rope and rigging equipment, gloves, goggles, and harnesses as well as other equipment. The front extended bumper carries extrication equipment including two hydraulic reels that power two cutters, rams, and spreaders.

“We also wanted a bigger cab that had more room for the officer and also has custom cabinets that contain our ice rescue equipment, emergency medical service equipment, wider SCBA seats, and increased space for our firefighters to carry personal equipment,” says Krueger. “So, we chose a Spartan Gladiator LFD cab with a 20-inch raised roof that gives us a great deal more space.” The vehicle carries 16 spare SCBA bottles as well as two bottles in a space saver compartment over the rear wheels on the driver side of the truck. Another option the department chose for its compartments is shadow tool boards that show where all of the tools are placed, allowing firefighters to tell instantly if a tool is missing. “The Command Light light mast also gives us a great deal of added lighting on the emergency scene, making it safer to operate on Routes 41 and 22,” adds Krueger.

Clintonville’s heavy rescue is built on a Spartan Gladiator cab and chassis.

1 Clintonville’s heavy rescue is built on a Spartan Gladiator cab and chassis. (Photos courtesy of Marion Body Works.)

The control panel for the UHP system and SCBA cascade system
The extended front bumper with compartment for extrication tools.

2 The control panel for the UHP system and SCBA cascade system. 3 The extended front bumper with compartment for extrication tools.

Department representatives were able to deal with the Marion factory direct, and its location, not far from the fire department’s district, made it easier to watch and comment on the build.

Like most fire departments around the country, Clintonville is hearing the same mantra: Do more with less. The Clintonville Fire Department was proactive in its thinking by ordering a bigger cab and body for a replacement heavy rescue, giving it more space for existing and future use, and planning out all areas of how it could make this new piece of apparatus work smarter for its firefighters. The addition of the UHP system provides firefighting capabilities at the scene of an MVA, and specially designed compartments hold grain bin rescue, ice rescue, and EMS equipment. Thinking outside the box never hurts when you are designing a new vehicle purchase for your response district.


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.

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