Compartment Corner: Franklin Fire Company, Columbus New Jersey Heavy Rescue


By Mike Ciampo

Columbus New Jersey is an unincorporated community located in Mansfield Township, Burlington County, New Jersey. Columbus is the main business district of the township and is also home to its main government offices. The town was originally called Black Horse after a tavern but was later changed to Columbus, after Christopher Columbus, when the area was renaming sections of the county. The town is nestled just off of the New Jersey Turnpike, south of the state capital of Trenton and east of the Delaware River. It is a suburb of the City of Philadelphia to its west and it also has easy access to New York City via commuter trains and Route 95. There are a few major roadways that run through the fire department’s response area that encounter vehicle extrications throughout the year. Columbus also has an area of farmland in its response area, which can lead to farm accidents, such as tractor roll-overs or man in the machine incidents. The town is also home to a famous Farmer’s Market which started years ago and is still operational in multiple buildings today.

Franklin Fire Company 1 has been operaring for over 150 years and is now known as Station 33 according to the Mansfield Township/Burlington County numbering system. It was organized around 1828 and reorganized in 1860 according to its Web site. The Web site ( also has a nice section of older apparatus under its history tab, which shows some vintage photos of a Martin fire engine with solid rubber tires, chain-driven with chemical tanks in 1914 and photos of their 1930 and 1935 Fords and 1970 Ford/Hahn engines in front of the firehouse over the years.

Today the department operates out of a station on Route 206 that houses two Pierce Engines with 1,000-gallon tanks and top-mounted pump controls; one Ford 4 Guys single-axle water tender carrying 2,000 gallons; one four-wheel-drive Ford 350 extended cab Brush pickup truck; one International four-door crew cab with PL Custom body and rescue and lighting apparatus; one Ford commercial cab support service vehicle for the fire police; and two Chevrolet SUVs for the chief and fire marshal. The newest addition to its fleet is a 2014 Pierce Quantum Rescue apparatus.

Rescue 3318 is a 2014 Pierce Quantum combination heavy-duty rescue with a 22-inch raised roof that sits six firefighters. It has an Allison EV4000 P automatic transmission, Hale APSH50 500-gpm pump, Detroit DD13 500-hp engine, 500 gallon water tank, and Oshkosh TAK-4 independent suspension system. The apparatus is equipped with roll-up compartment doors and painted red with the exception of the top of the cab’s roof which is white. The cab also has two gold leaf lines that run along the base of the cab and just below the windows. There is a wide, black reflective stripe running down the side of the vehicle outlined by a smaller stripe on each side and gold leaf stripes running around the wheel well and above the roll-up compartment doors on the body. The company’s patch is affixed to the crew cab, which boasts the American Flag-Old Glory Stars and Stripe pattern as its background, a Maltese cross with Station 33, and department name and location in writing. Rescue 3318 also has the following features: overhead storage in coffin compartments accessible via a ladder on the rear of the apparatus; 12- and 14-roof ladders stored in the upper open trough with a Little Giant ladder inside one of the upper coffin compartments; a Command Light tower system; front bumper extrication tool storage and hose reel; rear pump and controls accessible via the rear roll-up compartment door; wheel well air bottle storage; and On-Spot chains to name a few.

The first compartment on the officer’s side just behind the crew cab is a tool and jack compartment with all the tools mounted on vertical roll-out slide trays. To release the slide-out, a safety pin must be removed first; it is a very well organized compartment with a nice cache of tools mounted on the boards. (PHOTO 1).

Starting at the left hand side of the compartment on the first vertical roll-out, the rear side has two Pro-Bar Halligans, and an eight-pound flat head ax and six-pound flat head ax, mounted in retaining brackets (PHOTO 2). On the front side of this slide-out are two bolt cutters and one cable cutter (PHOTO 3). On the next forward slide out on the rear side are a pick-head ax, two sledgehammers, and one TNT combination tool (PHOTO 4) On the opposite side of this slide-out are two Hi-lift jacks, sometimes referred to as farm jacks (PHOTO 5). The next forward slide-out’s rear has an array of flat prying bars in various lengths, with some married and mounted together in the holding brackets (PHOTO 6). On the front side of this slide-out are numerous smaller hand tools, including a claw hammer, framing hammer, rubber mallet, two small sledgehammers, an officer’s hook, and two Junkyard Dog rescue struts (PHOTO 7). On the most forward slide-out, the rear side has two longer Junkyard Dog Extend rescue struts and an O-Tool for forcible entry (PHOTO 8). There is no tool storage on the front of this last board, so they don’t hit the electrical circuit box that is mounted on the inside wall toward the front of the compartment.

Rescue 3318 is a very nicely designed apparatus and will meet all the needs that the department response to in their jurisdiction.

MIKE CIAMPO is a 28-year veteran of 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, NY. He is the lead instructor of the FDIC Truck Co. Essentials class. He wrote the ladder chapter and co-authored the Ventilation chapter for Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I and II and is featured in “Training Minutes” truck company videos on He is also the author of Fire Engineering’s monthly column “On Fire.”

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