Special Delivery: Department Goes from Midmount to Rear-Mount Aerial

Alan M. Petrillo

It took the all-volunteer Sioux Center (IA) Fire Department six years to find the right aerial apparatus for its needs, but once the department got a Rosenbauer 101-foot rear-mount aerial platform in service, the aerial fulfilled its role well in fighting two major structure fires in the central Iowa fire district.

101-foot aerial platform carrying a Waterous 2,000-gpm pump, a 500-gallon Poly water tank, and a 1,500-gpm waterway with an Akron Brass 1,500-gpm wireless monitor at the tip

(1) The Sioux Center (IA) Fire Department went to Rosenbauer for this
101-foot aerial platform carrying a Waterous 2,000-gpm pump, a 500-
gallon Poly water tank, and a 1,500-gpm waterway with an Akron
Brass 1,500-gpm wireless monitor at the tip. (Photo courtesy of


Used or New?

When Sioux Center began looking to replace its only aerial-a 1973 85-foot mid-mount platform with a 1,250-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump and 750-gallon water tank that the department bought used from the Goshen (NY) Fire Department-the six-member truck committee that Chief Dave Van Holland formed considered used apparatus first.

“We looked around for a long time but couldn’t find a used aerial that was right for us,” Van Holland says. “In 2009, we had bought a tanker from Rosenbauer and were in a meeting with Rosenbauer reps and Darrell Frederickson, sales manager of Heiman Fire Equipment in South Dakota, who sold us the tanker. Harold Boer, chief executive officer of Rosenbauer’s South Dakota division, stepped into the meeting and asked if we had found an aerial to replace our Sutphen yet. We said, ‘No.’ “

Van Holland recounts that he learned that Boer was born and raised about 20 miles away from Sioux Center and had a soft spot for the area. “He called us months later and told us that Rosenbauer would build a demo aerial that would meet our needs,” he recalls.

Van Holland notes that Sioux Center is home to Dordt College, which has a number of multistory dormitories and buildings. Other large commercial structures are situated within the city limits. “We went into the business area of town and to the college and told them how a new aerial would help us retain our ISO 3 rating,” he says, “and they pitched in with monetary donations. We did a lot of fundraising too and eventually went to the city, which promised to back us on the aerial’s purchase, so we ordered the vehicle.”

Sioux Center's rig features rungs lit by LED lights the full length of the ladder

(2) Sioux Center’s rig features rungs lit by LED lights the full length of
the ladder. (Photo courtesy of Rosenbauer.)


The Demo

Roger Parker, Rosenbauer’s regional sales manager, says he has a long history with Van Holland, going back to two pumpers he sold the department while at a company ultimately purchased by Rosenbauer, as well as the tanker the company built for Van Holland.

“They couldn’t afford a brand new aerial, so we put our newest and most innovative gear on a Tech Drive demo unit that Sioux Center could have when the Tech Drive ended,” Parker says. He notes that with a Tech Drive, Rosenbauer takes a demo vehicle on the road to its vendors and various fire industry exhibitions and shows. “We load it with the latest and most innovative products, from lighting and intercoms to pressure governors and pumps,” he adds.

Sioux Center’s aerial platform was delivered in late October 2012.

Akron Brass wirelessly controlled monitor

(3) The waterway on the Sioux Center aerial platform flows 1,500 gpm
to this Akron Brass wirelessly controlled monitor. (Photo courtesy of
Sioux Center Fire Department.)


Other Features

The Sioux Center truck committee wanted all LED lights on the vehicle and plenty of scene lighting. Parker says they also asked for ladder guide lighting, which Rosenbauer installed on the ladder up to the platform.

In addition to the large pump-a Waterous CSUC20 2,000-gpm model-the aerial carries a 500-gallon Poly water tank and sports a 1,500-gpm waterway with an Akron Brass 1,500-gpm monitor at the tip. The aerial also has a hosebed that accommodates up to 1,200 feet of five-inch large-diameter hose (LDH) and has two 2½-inch and two 1¾-inch preconnects.

Frederickson says the 101-foot aerial platform is very easy to operate through the Rosenbauer Smart Aerial system installed in the rig. “It’s an electrical-over-hydraulic system that runs through the truck’s CANBUS system,” Frederickson says. “It has a joystick control at the Aerial Command seat on the pedestal that allows the operator to feather the aerial to a slow stop. The controls don’t jerk the aerial in any way or throw people around.”

Parker points out that the Smart Aerial joystick control is intuitive. “If you turn the joystick to the left, the aerial goes in that direction, or to the right, then in that direction,” he says. “Pushing forward on the joystick moves the aerial tip down and pulling back moves it up. On the back of the joystick is a button that you push forward or pull back to either extend or retract the aerial.”

Frederickson says that committee members also were impressed with the Rosenbauer Commander chassis. “They told us they found it easy to control and one of the smoothest rides they had ridden in a fire truck,” he adds.

Van Holland notes the Rosenbauer aerial platform acquitted itself well at two structure fires the department had after the aerial had been placed in service and the older aerial retired. “Both of them were big house fires where we used the aerial platform to perform ventilation operations that allowed us to fight the fire more effectively,” Van Holland says. “With Rosenbauer’s platform that has the angled corners, we were able to get in much closer to the roofs, and once we were there, the system allows the bucket to be tilted forward to allow the ventilation team easy access to the roof.”

The hosebed has capacity for 1,200 feet of five-inch LDH.

(4) The hosebed has capacity for 1,200 feet of five-inch LDH. (Photo
courtesy of Sioux Center Fire Department.)


As for Rosenbauer’s Commander chassis, Van Holland says his firefighters have nothing but good words. “It’s quieter inside that vehicle than any fire apparatus we’ve been in,” he says. “It corners well, handles like a dream, and sets up easily. We’re able to comfortably set the aerial up, extend the bucket, and flow water within 2½ minutes-all within a safe period without rushing.”

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.

Rosenbauer 101-Foot Aerial Platform

• Rosenbauer RBM Commander chassis and FX six-person body
• 241½-inch wheelbase
• 46-foot, seven-inch overall length
• 11-foot, 11-inch overall height
• Cummins ISX 500-hp diesel engine
• Allison EVS 4000 P automatic transmission
• Waterous CSUC20 2,000-gpm pump
• 500-gallon Poly water tank
• 101-foot steel aerial ladder with platform fabricated from 100,000-psi and 70,000-psi steel
• 1,500-gpm aerial waterway with Akron Brass 1,500-gpm wirelessly controlled monitor at platform
• Hosebed capacity of 1,200 feet of five-inch LDH
• Two 2½-inch and two 1¾-inch handline preconnects
• Two 35-foot, three-section extension ladders
• One 24-foot, two-section extension ladder
• One 16-foot roof ladder
• One combination ladder
• Harrison nine-kW hydraulic PTO generator
• Four Whelen Pioneer Super LED PFA1 12-volt scene lights; one each side, two at rear
• Two Whelen Pioneer Super LED PFA1 12-volt scene lights on front of platform
• Two Fire Research Corporation 500-watt, 110-volt telescoping lights on each side of the platform
• Two Fire Research Corporation 250-watt, 110-volt scene lights under the platform
• SetComm wireless headsets for aerial operator, platform, and driver

Price without equipment: $850,000

Sioux Center (IA) Fire Department

Strength: 42 volunteer firefighters, two stations.

Service area: provides fire, rescue, and hazmat services to 96 square miles and mutual aid to 11 communities in Sioux County and others in surrounding counties. Population of the six-square-mile city of Sioux Center is approximately 8,000. Sioux Center Fire Department runs to approximately 120 calls a year, half in the city and the other half in the mostly rural county.

Other apparatus: 2006 Crimson-Spartan pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 1,250-gallon water tank; 2000 Central Fire-Spartan pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 1,250-gallon water tank; 1990 Crimson Ford pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 1,250-gallon water tank; 2009 Rosenbauer-Sterling 3,000-gallon tanker; 1996 Ford Sterling rescue truck; 1989 LaVerne (Midwest Fire) pumper in reserve, 750-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon water tank.

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