The Big Run Area (PA) Volunteer Fire Company wanted to modernize its fleet and went about it in an unusual way—it sold off a 1999 Spartan top-mount pumper, a 1991 Darley pumper-tanker, and a 2008 Darley Ford F-550 compressed air foam system (CAFS) mini pumper, replacing the three vehicles with a 2015 Darley AutoCAFS demo fire truck.
“We found that we couldn’t crew all of the pieces of apparatus that we had,” says Todd Peace, Big Run’s chief. “So we’re down to one pumper now, which will soon be two because we’ve ordered another Darley AutoCAFS pumper.”
The 2015 Darley pumper is on a Spartan Metro Star chassis and cab with seating for six firefighters. It is powered by a Cummins ISC 330-horsepower diesel engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission, has all ROM roll-up doors, and features slide-in rear ladder storage.
The pumper carries a Darley single-stage LDMBC 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, a 1,000-gallon Poly-Bilt water tank, a 50-gallon integrated Poly-Bilt foam cell, a Darley AutoCAFS system, and a FoamPro 2001 foam system for Class A foam.
Wheelbase on the vehicle is 189 inches, overall length is 31 feet 10¾ inches, and overall height is 117 inches. The front axle is 18,000-pounds, the rear axle is 24,000-pounds, and the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 42,000 pounds, says Troy Carothers, Darley’s CAFS product manager. “The pumper also has Darley’s automatic water tank direct fill system,” he says, “which operates through a six-inch suction inlet that diverts water through an electrically-operated relief valve port when the tank water level drops to half full. It tops the tank off at 90 percent of its capacity.”
Carothers points out that Class A foam and CAFS can be delivered to five discharges including two crosslays, a front bumper handline, an Akron Brass Stinger 1,250-gpm deck gun, and a rear 2½-inch hosebed discharge. “Each discharge can flow water, a foam solution, CAFS, or compressed air, where you fill a 1¾-inch hose line with air and it’s capped with a quarter-inch fitting that can be used to air power a grinder, cutting tool or chisel instead of using self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) air.”
Peace points out that Big Run’s experience with its prior Darley CAFS mini pumper was positive, which led it to purchase the demo 2015 Darley AutoCAFS pumper. “We had trained twice a month with the CAFS mini pumper and found that CAFS fit our needs well for the area we have to cover. That’s why we went with the full size Darley CAFS pumper.”
Big Run provides fire, rescue and emergency medical services (EMS) protection to about 95 square miles in west-central Pennsylvania. “It’s a very rural and very hilly area,” Peace notes, “with some mountains and lots of forest.”
Big Run had the new Darley pumper set up for both rescue and EMS response and plans to do the same for the Darley pumper it will take delivery on in 2016. “We use Hurst rescue tools,” Peace says. “We have a combination tool, two rams, and a mini simo power plant on the vehicle along with Paratech rescue struts. Our engine is one of six rapid intervention team (RIT) engines in the county.”
Dan Nescot, owner of Hempfield Fire Equipment LLC, who sold the Darley pumper to Big Run, says that because it was a demo unit, the vehicle didn’t have the complete complement of lighting that Big Run desired, so lighting was added. “We added two 20,000-lumen Fire Research Corp. (FRC) 12-volt brow lights,” Nescot says, “and two FRC rear scene/backup lights. Also, we changed out HID telescopic mid-lights to 20,000-lumen FRC 12-volt lamp heads.”
Of the 2015 Darley AutoCAFS pumper, Peace points out, “We have had it at several working fires, and found it to give us an excellent performance. We would not change a thing on the truck.”
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.