The Phoenix (Ariz.) Fire Department, considered one of the nation’s most progressive, has ordered nine Pierce Quantum pumpers.

The order marks a significant change for the department, which had just completed a multi-year contract with American LaFrance for dozens of apparatus, including mid-engine pumpers customized for Phoenix. The new Pierce apparatus are expected to be delivered in the spring.

Phoenix finalized the contract after conducting an extensive apparatus review, according to Pierce. As part of the evaluation, the department compared a Pierce pumper and aerial to its existing fleet in on-track performance exercises.

“We put a Pierce custom pumper and aerial platform through a rigorous evaluation to size-up ride quality, handling, braking and overall performance,” said John Simmons, the department’s acting division chief for fleet management. “We were especially impressed with Pierce’s TAK-4 independent front suspension and its ability to deliver a smooth ride, as well as excellent vehicle control. These were important factors in our committee’s decision to go with Pierce on the Quantum chassis.”

The Phoenix Fire Department’s contract with American LaFrance ended about a year ago as ALF filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to a Dec. 12 article in The Arizona Republic newspaper. American LaFrance produced 65 engines and 12 aerial apparatus for the department, the newspaper said.

The article quoted Simmons, who said that American LaFrance had been late producing some trucks and that “complications with orders” are continuing to be worked out with the hope of maintaining a relationship as American LaFrance rebuilds.

Commanding Ride Height

In the meantime, Phoenix turned to Pierce, the largest apparatus maker in the United States.

Each of the nine Quantum pumpers are being customized, according to Pierce, and all will be equipped with 450-hp engines, 6-speed automatic transmissions, 1,500-gpm pumps and 500-gallon water tanks with Husky 12 foam systems.

“What also sold us on the Quantum chassis was its commanding ride height, low engine cover, spacious interior, quiet ride and air-actuated steps,” Simmons said. “In addition, we spoke to several fellow departments who have experience with Pierce apparatus. Each and every one had nothing but positive comments.”

Strong Confidence

Wilson Jones, the executive vice president of Pierce’s parent company Oshkosh Corporation and president of it’s Fire & Emergency division, said, “This order demonstrates strong confidence in Pierce fire apparatus and the stability of our company by one of North America’s largest and highest profile fire departments for them to make such a significant change.”

Jones also called the order “a testament to the reputation of our dealer – First In, Inc. – for providing tremendous service and support.”

The Phoenix Fire Department serves the fifth-largest city in the nation, encompassing more than 515 square miles and 1.47 million people. It is one of the country’s busiest fire departments, with 53 fire stations and nine battalions. It has 58 engine companies, 14 ladder companies and 33 rescue companies (ambulances).

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