Brainerd (MN) Fire Department Goes to CustomFIRE for New Pumper

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By Alan M. Petrillo

The Brainerd (MN) Fire Department wanted to take two of its oldest apparatus and replace them with a single pumper as a cost-saving measure but without sacrificing the utility that those two older rigs gave to the department. Brainerd had previously purchased an engine from CustomFIRE, so it had a good relationship with the company, and it also wanted a pumper similar in design to a neighboring department that had a CustomFIRE pumper.

The Brainerd (MN) Fire Department wanted to take two of its oldest apparatus and replace them with a single pumper as a cost-saving measure but without sacrificing the utility that those two older rigs gave to the department. Brainerd had previously purchased an engine from CustomFIRE, so it had a good relationship with the company, and it also wanted a pumper similar in design to a neighboring department that had a CustomFIRE pumper.

Wayde Kirvida, CustomFIRE’s sales engineer who sold the pumper to Brainerd, says he has known Holmes for about 15 years, and that Holmes had introduced Kirvida to chief Chip Lohmiller of the Cross Lake (MN) Fire Department, whose department purchased a pumper from Kirvida. “Brainerd liked the pumper we built for Cross Lake and wanted a very similar truck,” Kirvida says. “They made a minimal number of changes to the design, from a single-stage pump to a two stage, eliminating the independent front suspension, adding a light tower, and putting on a chrome front bumper.”

The Brainerd (MN) Fire Department wanted to take two of its oldest apparatus and replace them with a single pumper as a cost-saving measure but without sacrificing the utility that those two older rigs gave to the department. Brainerd had previously purchased an engine from CustomFIRE, so it had a good relationship with the company, and it also wanted a pumper similar in design to a neighboring department that had a CustomFIRE pumper.

The resulting vehicle is built on a Spartan Metro Star chassis with an all stainless steel body, powered by a Cummins 450-hp ISL 9 diesel engine, and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission. The pumper has a 2,000-gpm Waterous CMUC20 two-stage pump, a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 30-gallon foam tank, and a FoamPro 2001 single-agent foam system.

Holmes says that the department received the pumper in November of 2016, and that the vehicle was in service only three days when a snow plow ran into it, hitting the rear quarter of the rig while trying to clear an 18-inch snowfall. “We had to send the pumper back to CustomFIRE for repair, which took several weeks,” he notes, “but we got it back in January of 2017, and everything has been fine with the vehicle since then.”

Holmes adds that the department considered adding a CAFS to the pumper, but decided against it. “We are using foam on all our structure fires, and our Engine 4 (a 2000 General Fire pumper with a 1,250-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon water tank, 20-gallon foam tank) and Ladder 2 (a 2000 Central States 75-foot aerial quint with a 1,500-gpm pump, 400-gallon water tank, and 25-gallon foam tank) each has a CAFS, so we felt we didn’t need to add it to the new pumper,” Holmes says.

The CustomFIRE pumper also has a Will-Burt NightScan light tower, officer side 6-inch and 2½-inch suctions, a rear 6-inch suction, a driver side 6-inch suction, officer side 2½-inch and 4-inch discharges, a rear 2½-inch discharge, a hosebed 2½-inch preconnect discharge, a driver-side 2½-inch discharge, a front bumper 2½-inch preconnect, and 2-inch and 2½-inch speedlay discharges.

The vehicle has an on-board air compressor, slide-in ladder and pike pole storage, a folding ladder tray, a Whelen Freedom LED light bar, and Whelen LED warning and marker lights. Price on the rig, without equipment, was $530,000.

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and 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.

 

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