By Alan M. Petrillo
Coquitlam Fire Rescue, in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada, has taken delivery of a second heavy rescue built by SVI Fire and Rescue Trucks that’s a duplicate version of a heavy rescue it purchased from SVI a year earlier.
The heavy rescue is unusual in several ways, says Bob Sorensen, SVI‘s vice president, notably by including a Waterous CX 750-gallons-per-minute pump (gpm), a 300-gallon UPF Poly water tank, a 10-gallon USG foam cell, and a Waterous Advantus 3 foam system. Sorensen notes that the rescue truck also carries two 1¾-inch transverse crosslays with 200 feet of hose in the body, as well as one 1¾-inch 100-foot hoseline in the front bumper, all of which are foam-capable.
Rod Gill, Coquitlam’s deputy fire chief, says the idea for adding the pump, water tank, foam system, and handlines to the first heavy rescue they purchased came from tactical considerations. “We want the heavy rescue crew to have the ability to handle a car fire or start an initial attack on a structure fire,” Gill says.
The area covered by Coquitlam includes a mix of residential, commercial, light industrial structures, as well as high-rise buildings. The department, which runs more than 7,000 calls yearly, has 156 paid firefighters, 12 paid on-call firefighters, and seven chief officers. It covers a population of 130,000 in 58 square miles from five fire halls with four front-line Smeal 1,750-gpm pumpers, a Smeal 100-foot aerial platform, a Smeal 125-foot aerial ladder, a Smeal 55-foot aerial ladder quint, two heavy rescues, and a number of ancillary vehicles.
Gill points out that Coquitlam’s firefighters were so pleased with the SVI heavy rescue they received more than a year ago that the department ordered a second heavy rescue that duplicated all the equipment of the first. Coquitlam also worked closely with SVI engineers to lay out and mount all the vehicle’s equipment. “We bought new Holmatro rescue tools and equipment, shipped it to SVI, and consulted with them on how and where to lay them out,” Gill says.
The result was Holmatro Dual CORE Technology high-pressure hydraulic lines being run to the front bumper, while the Holmatro power plant, rams, spreaders and cutters are carried in the driver’s side rear compartment. “We don’t use hydraulic reels on our rescue trucks because they are limited in how far you can go with them,” Gill says. “We use 50-foot long hydraulic hose coils, that can be connected together to get our tools where we need them. We can run the coils off the front or out of the back compartment. By using hose coils, we save compartment space because they take up less room than reels.”
John Witt, president of Safetek Emergency Vehicles Ltd., is the Smeal and SVI dealer for Canada who sold the two rescue trucks to Coquitlam. “SVI built the trucks on Spartan Gladiator EMFD chassis with 24-inch raised roofs and seating for six firefighters,” Witt says. “They have SVI’s 22-foot aluminum bodies with center rear walkways and upper body storage, and are powered by Cummins ISX15L 500-horsepower diesel engines, and Allison EVS 4000PR automatic transmissions.”
Witt notes that each of the heavy rescues has a Command Light CL15 light tower with four 1,500-watt and two 1,000-watt metal halide lights, an Onan 40-kW power takeoff (PTO) generator, and a Command Light TFB V5 Traffic Flow Board recessed in the upper left rear corner of the body that deploys by raising up and can angle 45 degrees left and right.
Gill points out that the department considers the vehicle a heavy rescue with fire suppression capability, rather than a rescue-pumper. “We put a Bauer K18 25-cubic-feet per-minute (cfm) air compressor with a booster feature on it, along with four 6,000-pounds-per-square-inch (psi) 500-cubic-foot storage bottles, a Bauer CFSII two-bottle refill system, and high- and low-pressure air reels,” Gill says.
Besides its array of typical rescue equipment and tools, the heavy rescue also carries the department’s swift water rescue gear. Coquitlam Fire Rescue runs separate vehicles and trailers for hazmat, high-angle, structural collapse, and confined space calls.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.