Sometimes two is better than one. That’s the thinking that went on at the South Callaway (MO) Fire Protection District when a heavy rescue truck needed to be replaced. But instead of buying a new rescue, the district decided on two identical, used, and reconditioned quint fire apapratus that could carry the district’s rescue equipment and have the added benefits of fire suppression capabilities and an aerial ladder.
South Callaway, Missouri, has a large area to cover, with five stations in southeastern Callaway County—approximately 175 square miles—and protects a large school complex, Missouri’s only nuclear electric generating plant, large farming operations, and residential housing that ranges from low-income single-family homes to $1 million homes.
Jeffrey Wallendorff, chief of the South Callaway Fire Protection District, says that instead of a rescue truck the district needed additional water flow for certain areas of its coverage area. “We needed apparatus that would accomplish a multitude of tasks and provide the greatest benefit to our Insurance Services Organization (ISO) rating,” Wallendorff says. “It was more beneficial to get something with a pump and aerial device on it rather than trying to upgrade an apparatus (a walk-in heavy rescue) that had limited uses in the first place.”
Wallendorff says the decision between a new vehicle and a used one was an easy decision for the district. “It simply came down to the best use of taxpayer money,” he says. “We were able to purchase two nice used trucks for much less than the price of one new one. With our low run volume (300 calls a year) we could not justify spending money on a new unit. With a good maintenance program, we will get many useful years out of these quints.”
Jim Keltner, owner of Jon’s Mid America Fire Apparatus, says that South Callaway approached him as a result of referrals from two of its neighboring fire districts: North Callaway and Central Callaway. “North Callaway Fire Protection District has been our customer for close to 30 years, and Central Callaway for 14 years,” Keltner says. “They have purchased more than 20 vehicles between them from us.”
Keltner says that South Callaway had its mind made up on a quint when it approached him, and he had a vehicle that was a perfect fit. “The chief brought a board member with him to inspect the quint,” he says. “When the board member learned we had another identical quint coming in, he asked if they could get a better deal by purchasing two of them.”
Jon’s Mid America and South Callaway settled on $600,000 for the two quints, with some added equipment needed to put the vehicles in service. “It’s not unusual for us to sell more than one vehicle to a fire department,” Keltner points out. “When I buy or trade for a matching vehicle, they often go to the same department—probably half of the time.”
The two quints that South Callaway bought are 2001 E-ONE models with 75-foot ladders and six-person cabs. Overall length of each vehicle is 36 feet, eight inches, and overall height is 11 feet, five inches. The vehicles are powered by Cummins ISM 450-horsepower diesel engines and Allison automatic transmissions, and each carries a 2,000-gallon-per-minute (gpm) Waterous CSU 200 pump with a Waterous Eclipse 200-cubic-feet-per-minute (cfm) Pneumax compressed air foam system (CAFS), a 400-gallon water tank, a 20-gallon Class A foam tank, and a 30-gallon Class B foam tank.
The three-section aerial ladders have pinnable waterways, and the vehicles each have two 1¾-inch crosslays, one 2½-inch crosslay, a 15-kW PTO hydraulic generator, four quartz scene lights, and a ground ladder complement consisting of one 35-foot, three-section extension ladder; one 24-foot, two-section extension ladder; two 16-foot roof ladders; and a 10-foot attic ladder.
South Callaway’s fleet also includes five front-line pumpers and one in reserve, all on commercial chassis and carrying 1,500-gpm pumps and 1,250-gallon water tanks; five tankers (tenders), each carrying 2,000 gallons of water and 750-gpm pumps; five brush trucks (three on Ford F-550 chassis and two on Jeep chassis); one support vehicle, and two command vehicles.
Wallendorff notes that another factor the fire district considered was new vs. older technology. “New technology doesn’t always mean it is better,” he observes. “A lot of the new technology does improve safety, but the fancy bells and whistles are unnecessary. Like all departments, our training time is precious and we needed to keep the trucks as simple and user-friendly as possible to get the most out of training time.”
He adds that the staff at Jon’s Mid America were easy to work with. “We had been looking for the right truck for nearly a year,” Wallendorff says. “Purchasing the trucks from them was a great experience. Constant communication made the purchase flawless; they knew what we wanted, and we knew what we were getting, so there were no surprises.”
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.