Compartment Corner: Beekmantown (NY) Engine 128

Engine 128 is a 2007 HME/Smeal rescue-engine. Photos by author.

By Michael N. Ciampo

Located in Northeastern New York State, snuggled in the Champlain Valley in between the Adirondack State Park on its western border and Lake Champlain on its eastern border sits the Town of Beekmantown. The town sits just north of Plattsburgh in Clinton County. The town’s northern border is Canada, and it’s about an hour ride to Montreal. On its eastern side, it borders the State of Vermont as its town line runs through the West Channel of Lake Champlain. The lake borders both states but also runs across the border into the Canadian Province of Quebec. The eastern part of town has exquisite views of the Green Mountains across the lake in Vermont. The western side of town is the Adirondack State Park, which was established in 1885 and has over 6 million acres, more than 10,000 lakes and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams. The town is primarily a rural community but is also home to numerous tourists who come to swim, fish, hunt, boat, hike, and snowmobile on a network of trails in the area. The town is easy to get to and is just off the Adirondack Northway Interstate 87 which runs north through scenic mountains and valleys. One of the historic sights is The Point au Roche lighthouse, which was built out of limestone in 1858. It’s octagonal shaped with trapezoid frames and sits 54 feet above Lake Champlain. Today it is privately owned but still holds a lot of history and a symbolic remembrance of times past.

The Beekmantown Fire Department is a volunteer organization which runs out of two stations and covers 70 square miles and are part of the Clinton County mutual aid response plan. They run a host of different types of apparatus, which include: Engine 122, a 2001 International 4900/KME engine-tanker with a 1,250-gpm pump and 1,250-gpm tank; Engine 129, a 1997 International/Smeal engine-tanker with a 1,200-gpm pump and 1,500-gallon tank; Rescue 124 a 1983 International/Supreme, formerly a tanker now equipped with Supreme cargo box; Tanker 125, a tandem-axle 2015 International Work Star 7600/KME with a 1,250-gpm pump and 3,000-gallon tank; Squad 126, a mini rescue four-door 1998 Ford F350/Iroquois; and two brush trucks, Brush 123, a 2018 Chevrolet 3500/Reading with 500-gpm pump and 250-gallon tank and a 2006 Dodge Ram 4×4 with a 100-gpm pump and 300-gallon tank.

Engine 128 is a 2007 HME Ahrens Fox Penetrator raised-roof cab rescue-pumper with body work by Smeal. The rig is equipped with a Hale 1,500-gpm pump and 1,500-gallon water tank with top-mount pump controls. It is painted red with three white reflective stickers running along the lower side of the cab and rescue body. In the rear, the pattern runs across the rear roll-up door, but there are two solid stripes that sit higher on the rear of the apparatus. On the front bumper, a single white reflective sticker is attached. The rig is equipped with roll-up compartment doors, which are not painted. Located just under the tp-mount pump controls are two crosslay handlines, and over the top side is a 2½-inch handline crosslay. The portable ladder rack sits above the body on the officer’s side of the apparatus and has a motorized lift assembly to lower and raise the ladder. Engine 128 boasts an extended front bumper which has a hose storage area and a single front discharge.

In this segment of Compartment Corner, we’re going to take a look at the rear end of Engine 128. The apparatus has a unique compartment layout and design that holds a variety of tools and appliances. Located in the rear, in the large roll-up compartment, is the rig’s hydraulic rescue tool storage area. The rescue-pumper has two hydraulic hose reels that are permanently mounted in the upper portion of the compartment and preconnected to a Holmatro cutter and spreader. The bottom pull-out tray is home to the stationary hydraulic pump, although it can be quickly disconnected so it can be removed from the apparatus for an extrication beyond the scope of the hoselines. The pull-out tray also enables the members to access the hydraulic rams and assorted extrication equipment (ram support brackets) stored in the compartment. On the upper left side, on the rear of the engine is a compartment which has a self-contained breathing apparatus, a dry chemical extinguisher, and a flexible hard suction slid into a hidden trough stored in it. Just to the right side of the roll-up compartment, located under the steps, is a small compartment that holds another section of flexible hard suction and some hooks (NY Roof Hook and two drywall hooks). In the rear upper right-hand compartment, there is a pressurized water can secured in a holding bracket. On the rear step of the engine, the department has some traffic cones stored for ease of access and use during an emergency or fire. The Beekmantown Volunteer Fire Department is very proud of its engine and to provide fire and rescue protection to its residents and tourists who visit the scenic area.

MICHAEL N. CIAMPO is a 33-year veteran of the fire service and a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York. Previously, he served with the District of Columbia Fire Department. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. He is the lead instructor for the FDIC Truck Essentials H.O.T. program. He wrote the Ladders and Ventilation chapters for Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I and II (Fire Engineering, 2009) and the Bread and Butter Portable Ladders DVD and is featured in “Training Minutes” truck company videos on He also writes the back page column ON FIRE in Fire Engineering.

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