Special Delivery: Bloomsbury Hose Co. Combines Two Vehicles Into Single Rescue-Pumper

Alan M. Petrillo

Limited staffing, tight budgets, and the need to replace both an aging pumper and a utility rescue vehicle led the Bloomsbury Hose Co. No. 1, in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, to decide on a combination vehicle-a rescue-pumper. But, the fire company had various challenges for the vehicle’s manufacturer, notably a low-height requirement to fit the pumper into a low firehouse and a high angle of approach up the ramp from the street.

(1) Bloomsbury Hose Co. No. 1, Hunterton County, New Jersey, needing to replace an older pumper and a limited-duty rescue vehicle, chose a Pierce Manufacturing Impel PUC rescue pumper with a 1,500-gpm single-stage pump, 750-gallon water tank, and 20-gallon foam cell. (Photo courtesy of Pierce Manufacturing Inc.)

Easy Decision

Eric Trevena, sales representative for Fire and Safety Services Ltd., in South Plainfield, New Jersey, had conversations in the past with Bloomsbury Hose about building a rescue truck, but nothing was done at that time. Once the Bloomsbury firefighters decided on a rescue-pumper, Trevena got reacquainted with the fire company. “They were looking to replace an older Mack pumper and a Ford F-350 utility rescue vehicle,” Trevena says. “The fire company decided it was best to combine those two trucks into one rescue-pumper.”

Sean McNulty, deputy chief of Bloomsbury Hose Co., says the decision to go with a rescue-pumper was an easy one. “We had that old Mack pumper with a split rear end, top-mount pump, and open cab,” McNulty says. “We needed to replace it badly, especially when we had to run it in winter weather. We knew what size motor we wanted, because we were looking for a vehicle to handle calls on our highways yet still fit into our station.”

(2) One of the issues that Bloomsbury Hose Co. had was low and narrow station doors and limited lengths. The company addressed these issues by specing an Impel PUC rescue-pumper that has an overall height of eight feet, eight inches and overall length of 33 feet, 7½ inches. (Photo courtesy of Fire and Safety Services.)

The result, McNulty points out, was Bloomsbury Hose’s purchase of a Pierce Manufacturing Impel Pierce Ultimate Configuration (PUC) pumper that features a 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, 750-gallon water tank, and Husky 3 foam system and is rigged for hydraulic rescue tool operations.

Form, Fit, and Function

Pierce helped solve the low station height issue early in the prebuild process, Trevena notes. “The biggest challenge was making the rescue-pumper fit into the firehouse because it was so low,” he says. “We worked hard to get into the footprint they allowed and within their budget as well.”

(3) Ladders are stored within the rear of the body on the driver’s side of the rescue-pumper. (Photo courtesy of Pierce Manufacturing.)

Trevena says Pierce started out designing the rescue-pumper with a 70-inch cab but ultimately went to an 84-inch cab after it recessed the air conditioning unit, giving the vehicle a flat roof and allowing it to slide into the firehouse with no clearance problems. The warning light bar and brow lights were placed on the brow of the vehicle to allow a fully-flat roof. “One of the benefits of going with the PUC instead of a traditional midship pumper is that we were able to get a full-width hosebed that holds 1,000 feet of five-inch large-diameter hose (LDH) plus four other individual hoselays-two 1¾-inch, one 2½-inch, and one three-inch,” Trevena points out. The PUC concept places the pump down low in the vehicle between the frame rails, allowing for lower crosslays and more compartmentation.

(4) Bloomsbury Hose Company’s rescue pumper has full-depth compartments all around and a flat roof. The HVAC unit is recessed into the rear of the cab to help fit the vehicle into a station with low doors and ceilings. (Photo courtesy of Pierce Manufacturing.)

New Highway First-Due

The fire company took delivery of the rescue-pumper last spring and has used it as its first-due apparatus for all calls on Route 78, according to McNulty. “Our Spartan pumper is first due on structure fires, but the PUC is our highway truck,” he says. “The Husky foam system is very important to us out there, as well as the ability to carry our rescue tools.”

A month after the rescue-pumper went into service, the company was called to an auto carrier fire on the highway. “We had no trouble knocking down that fire when we turned on the Husky foam system,” McNulty says.

(5) The unit’s 1,500-gpm pump sits down in between the frame rails, allowing lower crosslays and greater compartmentation. (Photo courtesy of Bloomsbury Hose Co. No. 1.)

He adds that Bloomsbury Hose had Pierce design the vehicle with the necessary wiring and plumbing for an array of hydraulic rescue tools, which the fire company is in the process of purchasing. “We got some donations of funds from Bethlehem and Alexandria townships, but we have to raise all our own money for this,” McNulty adds.

Another design element that Pierce put on the rescue-pumper is an auto fill valve on the rear of the vehicle. Once the water tank is half empty, the valve automatically opens to receive water. McNulty says the valve is handy for smaller departments like his where staffing is limited. “It means one less firefighter standing back there to open or close the valve,” he says.

The Pierce rescue-pumper also carries an extended front bumper with a 2½-inch preconnected hose tipped by a gated wye for two handlines, a Harrison 10-kW generator, and Whelen Pioneer LED telescoping and scene lights. Ladders are completely enclosed and stored within the body on the driver’s side of the rescue-pumper, and two 10-foot lengths of hard suction are carried in the hosebed. “We talked with several manufacturers,” McNulty observes, “but each of them had compromises to their design that we couldn’t accept. Pierce was able to give us everything we wanted in the PUC configuration and still get the truck into the firehouse.”

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer 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.

Pierce Impel PUC Pumper

• Pierce Impel 84-inch-wide cab with flat roof and seating for six
• 204-inch wheelbase
• 33-foot, 7½-inch overall length
• Eight-foot, eight-inch overall height
• Cummins ISL 425-hp diesel engine
• Allison EVS3000 P automatic transmission
• Pierce 1,500-gpm single-stage pump
• 750-gallon Poly water tank
• 20-gallon foam cell
• Husky 3 single-agent foam system
• Harrison 10-kW generator
• Four Whelen Pioneer LED scene lights
• Two 12-volt Whelen Pioneer telescoping lights
• Federal Q2B mechanical siren
• Federal PA300 electronic siren
• RotoRay LED front warning light

Price without equipment: $465,871

Bloomsbury Hose Co. No. 1 Hunterdon County, NJ

Strength: 25 volunteer firefighters, one station.

Service area: Provides fire suppression and rescue to the approximately 20 square miles of three communities in Hunterdon County, New Jersey: Bloomsbury Borough, Alexandria Township, and Bethlehem Township. Population is 10,000 with coverage area mostly residential. Two major truck stops are in Bloomsbury borough, and Interstate Route 78 runs through the fire district as does the Northern Suffolk Railroad.

Other apparatus: 2001 Spartan pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon water tank; 1989 Mack water tender (tanker), 500-gpm pump, 1,900-gallon water tank; 1989 Ford F-350 quick-attack mini-pumper, 300-gpm pump, 250-gallon water tank; Chevrolet Suburban command vehicle.

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