Cicero Fire Department Taps E-ONE for Tractor Drawn Aerial

The Cicero Fire Department stayed with a tried-and-proven tractor-drawn aerial concept when it purchased a new E-ONE 100-foot TDA.
The Cicero Fire Department stayed with a tried-and-proven tractor-drawn aerial concept when it purchased a new E-ONE 100-foot TDA.
The E-ONE TDA has a compartment where a tray with pre-connected Hurst tools can be deployed to either side of the truck. The dual-slide tray is on the top, while a portable Hurst tool is on a bottom slide tray
The E-ONE TDA has a compartment where a tray with pre-connected Hurst tools can be deployed to either side of the truck. The dual-slide tray is on the top, while a portable Hurst tool is on a bottom slide tray.

When a fire department is satisfied that a certain type of equipment has proven itself, often the best course of action is to continue use of that equipment. That’s what Cicero (Ill.) Fire Department officials decided when they purchased an E-ONE to replace one of their tractor-drawn aerials.

Cicero, with a population of 109,000, borders the city of Chicago on three sides. The department covers six square miles, usually handling between 10,000 and 13,000 runs a year, with approximately 4,000 of those being for fire alarms and structure fire calls. About 40 percent of the town is residential, with the balance being heavily industrial and commercial.

“Our department always has operated with a tiller, even in the old days when the rigs were pulled by horses,” said Lt. Rick Moravecek. “When we became motorized, we used open tiller cabs, then went to the closed cab with Seagrave and now use E-ONE tiller aerials.”

He said streets in the northern part of town are tight, and it’s easier to move around with a tiller.

The department’s new E-ONE 100-foot aluminum ladder tractor-drawn aerial (TDA) replaced a 1983 Seagrave 100-foot tiller cab aerial. The trailer was refurbished twice during its lifetime, according to Moravecek, and the tractor was replaced in 2002.

“The amount of repairs that we needed to do was not worth it, so it was time for a new aerial,” he said.

Cicero Fire Chief George Gregory appointed Moravecek to a committee to spec out a new tractor-drawn aerial, along with Assistant Chief Ted Kolin, engineer Dan Dreisbach and firefighter Mike Laria. It was the first time the department involved officers and firefighters in specifying apparatus.

“In the past the chief decided, but this time the truck committee was allowed to run the whole show,” Moravecek said. The committee wrote the specifications and sought bidders, receiving responses from American LaFrance, Pierce Manufacturing and E-ONE. The companies made presentations and then took committee members to their plants.

“The ladder on the E-ONE was wider than the others, which meant it would be easier to use with a Stokes basket,” Moravecek said of the committee’s decision. “It was the best fit for us because of the length of the rig, since it had to fit into an existing older firehouse.”

In addition, he said E-ONE was able to provide more compartment space on the trailer, which was important because it is used for rescue.

“Both of our trucks are extrication vehicles,” Moravecek said. “The driver’s side is the rescue side where we keep the Hurst tool, cutters and spreaders, along with the rams, air bags and air tools. The other side has PV fans, regular fans, RIT equipment, the Stokes and air bottle holders.”

An unusual feature in the Hurst compartment has the tools pre-connected and mounted on a tray that can be deployed to either side. The hydraulic pump is located in the center of the compartment. Cicero also carries a portable Hurst tool on the rig.

Joe Hedges, product manager for aerials at E-ONE in Ocala, Fla., said Cicero’s tractor-drawn aerial has a new body design providing increased compartmentation and ladder storage. The Cicero TDA was one of the first of the new bodies delivered by E-ONE.

The 100-foot aluminum ladder is a straight stick that has a 500-pound tip load, wet or dry. A moveable waterway can be adjusted to the tip of the ladder’s last section for high master stream work or can be pinned back to the end of the third ladder section so that the end fly can be used for rescue. The aerial has to be fully retracted and stowed in the cradle before the waterway can be repositioned.

“Most departments set the waterway at the end of the third section because they figure they’ll usually be using the ladder for rescue work,” Hedges said.

There’s no tank or pump on the TDA, Hedges noted, but plenty of space for equipment. The TDA carries a 15,000-watt Onan generator that operates while the vehicle is moving because it powers the heating and air conditioning in the enclosed tiller cab, which has a fold-down training seat.

“The truck also carries a unique number of reels,” Hedges said. “It has one utility air reel, an electric cord reel and a hydraulic hose reel that is pre-connected to the Hurst tools.”

It has Federal pod-type light bars, four on each side with a special three-pod light in the center that forms a large V. There also are three pods over each rear door, 17 LED warning light pods, ground lights and a Federal Cuda LED directional bar traffic advisor in the rear. The truck carries 8,100 watts of lighting power in 10 quartz lights – two on the aerial, four on the cab and two each on the driver’s and officer’s side of the body.

“There’s a set of tracking lights on the roof of the traffic cab so the tillerman can tell if he’s centered,” Hedges said. “The lights also are wired to the directionals so the driver and tillerman can coordinate their cornering.”

Another feature of the E-ONE TDA that the Cicero team liked, Hedges said, was the vehicle’s short rear overhang.

“When you snake it up a hill after taking a corner, it won’t drag its rear end,” he said. “This TDA has an 80-inch overhang, compared with the conventional 100 inches of rear overhang found in most similar vehicles.”

Hedges pointed out that the TDA’s ladder is the same as E-ONE’s rear mount HP 100. “We customized the fly section and tapered the handrail to improve the tillerman’s visibility,” he said.

Greg Hansen, salesperson for Fire Service Inc. in St. John, Ind., the company that sold the TDA to Cicero, said working with the truck committee was a positive experience.

“They knew what they needed and communicated it to us very well,” he said. “We brought them to Ocala to spend a couple of days at the E-ONE plant so they could show us what they wanted and we could show them what we could do.”

Clearances on the tiller cab height and the overall length of the vehicle were two concerns that E-ONE solved for the department, he said, as well as the need for storage.

“They re-engineered the body and got everything they wanted in it, including all the reels and the 182 feet of ground ladders in the ladder tunnel,” he noted. 

Lt. Moravecek said the people at E-ONE were very professional and well-educated. “Whatever we threw at them, they could do it, and we went through the pros and cons of each,” he said. “We never felt pressured.”

E-ONE 100-foot Tractor-Drawn Aerial
• Cyclone chassis with 6-person medium length cab, 12-inch raised roof
• Cummins ISM 500-hp diesel engine
• Allison EVS 4000 automatic transmission
• 18,700-pound front axle
• 31,000-pound rear drive axle
• 22,100-pound rear steer axle
• 100-foot aluminum aerial ladder
• One set of H-style outriggers with 17-foot, 6-inch spread
• Onan 15,000-watt generator
• Electric cord reel
• Utility compressed air reel
• Hydraulic hose reel preconnected for Hurst tools
• Enclosed, heated and air-conditioned tiller cab, with additional training seat
• Two 35-foot three-section ground ladders
• One 28-foot two-section ground ladder
• One 18-foot roof ladder
• One 16-foot roof ladder
• One 14-foot attic extension ladder
• One 14-foot roof ladder
• One 12-foot roof ladder
• One 10-foot folding ladder

Price: $922,867 without equipment

Cicero (Ill.) Fire Department

Strength: 71 paid firefighters, including command staff; three stations providing fire suppression and emergency responses; four ALS ambulances staffed by contract medics running out of all three stations.

Service area: Approximately 6 square miles with a population of 109,000, bordering City of Chicago on three sides; about 60 percent heavy commercial and industrial areas.

Other apparatus: 2007 E-ONE pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 750-gallon tank; 2006 E-ONE pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon tank; 1999 Pierce pumper, 1,250-gpm pump, 750-gallon tank; 2007 E-ONE 95-foot platform quint, 1,750-gpm pump, 250-gallon tank; 2009 E-ONE Tractor Driven Aerial, 100-foot ladder straight stick; (reserve) 1998 Seagrave pumper, 1,250-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon tank; (reserve) 1992 Seagrave 100-foot rear mount aerial quint, 1,250-gpm pump, 300-gallon tank.

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