Crimson Fire Completes 5-Year Contract With Chicago

Crimson Fire triple combination pumpers
The last of five identical Crimson Fire triple combination pumpers has been delivered to the Chicago Fire Department. Chicago has a goal of standardizing its fleet so the department’s 4,400 uniformed firefighters can transition from one station to another with ease. (Fire Apparatus Photo by Don Feipel)

Five heavy-duty, triple combination pumpers built by Crimson Fire have been put in service with the Chicago Fire Department.

They’re built on Spartan Gladiator cabs and chassis and powered by Detroit Diesel Series 60 385 horsepower engines with Allison 4000EVS transmissions. Features include Hale Qtwo 1,500 gpm pumps, Hale 3.3 foam systems, 500-gallon ProPoly polyprene tanks, and Code 3 LED light packages.

Bill Griffin, Jimmy Diesel, Inc., LaGrange, Ill., sold them for $292,717 each.

The delivery of these units completed a five-year contract that brought the total number of pumpers in service in Chicago to 71. There are currently 98 engine companies in service with the Chicago Fire Department. All but two pumpers in front-line service are either Crimson Fire or Luverne built apparatus. Additionally, most of the 33 reserve pumpers are also Luverne built.

Ed Ebertsch is the senior automotive equipment analyst for the Chicago Department of Fleet Management. He and his group are responsible for operations management for more than 11,000 vehicles, which are operated by the City of Chicago.

Several years ago, fleet management assumed full responsibility for all fire department vehicles. This covered, specifications, bids, contracts, warranty management, maintenance, repairs and parts inventory.

Today, much of this operation is located in a large facility at 1685 North Throop St., in Chicago. A main objective of the Chicago Fire Department and of Fleet Management is to provide uniformity on fire apparatus.

There are 4,400 uniformed members of the Chicago Fire Department. Having fire engines that have the same configurations on pump panels, controls, pump operations, and hose bed layouts allows firefighters to make an easy transition into any firehouse in the city. Entering into long-term contracts has been a key to that continuity.

While the Crimson Fire name on apparatus only goes back to 2002 when parent company Spartan Motors merged the operations of Luverne and Quality, its fire apparatus building experience goes back 130 years.

Jimmy Diesel Inc., the Illinois Crimson Fire dealer, has enjoyed a long business relationship with the City of Chicago to provide equipment and service in many areas of vehicle and equipment needs, including the large volume fire apparatus needs of the Chicago Fire Department.

Officials at the Chicago Department of Fleet Management will soon open bids for a new multi-year contract for fire pumpers. It is their intent to have the contract cover a five-year period with up to two one-year extensions.

Plans call for the purchase of up to eight pumpers per year if funding is available. Introducing new apparatus to the Chicago Fire Department is very important to a city that responds to over 850,000 fire and medical assist calls each year.

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