Colwich’s Toyne Is A Do-It-All Apparatus

 Colwich (Kan.) Fire Department recently took delivery of a Toyne pumper/tanker.
Colwich (Kan.) Fire Department recently took delivery of a Toyne pumper/tanker. It joins a fleet of two other tankers and a late model Ford F550 with a skid unit. The new Toyne is a multipurpose apparatus designed to service the community’s hydrant area and the more rural areas without hydrants. (Fire Apparatus Photo)

COLWICH, Kan. – The Colwich Fire Department used a Department of Homeland Security FIRE Act grant to buy a new pumper/tanker. The apparatus was purchased from Toyne Inc. of Breda, Iowa.

“We were very fortunate to get a grant last year for this truck,” says Mayor Terry Spexarth, a volunteer on the department. He’s career firefighter with the nearby Wichita Fire Department and former Colwich fire chief.

“We got a grant that was a 95 to 5 percent split,” he says. The department got about $250,000 toward the $254,850 purchase price.

The Toyne unit is built on a Freightliner M2 112 cab and chassis, powered by a Mercedes Benz 410 hp engine with an Allison 4000EVS transmission.

To fight fire, it has a Waterous CSUYCX 1,500 gpm pump and a 2,500-gallon UPF tank. It has a Class One Captain pressure governor, an FRC Tankvision gauge, an Elkhart monitor and an eductor foam system. It’s equipped with a 10-inch Newton dump valve on the rear and a 2.5-inch direct fill.

Spexarth says the apparatus empties in about a minute and a half and can be refilled from the community’s hydrant system in about 2.5 minutes.

“We were impressed when we timed it,” he says.

Fire Research provided the lighting. The telescoping lights are powered by an Onan 8,000-watt hydraulic generator.

He and the department decided to buy a pumper/tanker so there would be one apparatus in the community that could do it all.

“We cover 36 square miles, which is basically three miles by three miles by three miles,” Spexarth says. Much of the community is covered by a good hydrant system, but there are some outlying areas where the water must be hauled to fight fire.

“This truck will do just about anything we need it to do,” the mayor says. “We figure that if you can’t knock down a fire with 2,500 gallons, you’re probably going to lose it anyway.”

“We absolutely love it,” he says. “It fits the community very well.”

Toyne was selected to build the apparatus through a bid process. The company was lowest of five builders that submitted proposals.

“We did some checking with other departments that bought Toyne trucks, including some right here in Kansas,” Spexarth says.” We called one chief and his department keeps ordering them, so we figured they must be good.”

Colwich decided to buy a four-door conventional cab and chassis, largely because of the cost difference with a custom cab and chassis, which Spexarth says was quoted as up to $50,000 more.

Commercial Cab Design

“The way the cab is designed, I think we’ve actually got more room in the conventional cab than the custom,” he says. “You can almost stand up in the back.” He adds that the cab carries five people and the three rear seats are 911 SCBA seats.

The Colwich Fire Department has 17 volunteers and one brand new full-time fire chief, Raul Ortiz, who arrived in town just days ahead of the new truck.

The department responds to medical calls and averages about 120 responses annually with two or three working fires a year. The population is around 1,300, but Colwich is also home to a 100-million-gallon ethanol facility and the world’s largest ethanol engineering plant, which employs 500 people.

Spexarth says the ethanol plant has its own fire suppression equipment and foam system, so the Colwich Fire Department doesn’t have direct responsibilities for the plant. “We go in to back them up, but that’s about it.”

Good For Car Fires

The department does, however, have responsibilities for Kansas Highway 96, which runs through the coverage area. The Toyne pumper/tanker will prove valuable on truck and car fires and roadway accidents. Water has to be hauled to any highway scene, he says, and the Toyne unit is well suited for that mission.

Spexarth says dealing with the people at Toyne was a pleasure and anything the department needed was done. Minor warranty issues were handled easily and without hassle. And, if anything serious happens, the plant is only two hours away, a big advantage.

The dealer, Mike Weiss of Weiss Fire and Safety, Salina, Kan., was helpful and responsive, Spexarth says.

“We were very pleased with the whole experience,” Spexarth says. “We think we’ve got a great truck.”

For information call 800-648-3358 or go to

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