Special Delivery: Rear-Mount 4 Guys Pumper Has Many Distinctive Features

Piney Flats (Tenn.) Volunteer Fire Department
The Piney Flats (Tenn.) Volunteer Fire Department’s 2009 4 Guys rear-mount pumper is built on a four-door Freightliner cab and chassis. It has two speedlays on the front bumper with two-inch plumbing and capacity for two lengths of 200-foot 1.75-inch preconnected hose. (Fire Apparatus Photo)
rear-mount pump pane
The rear-mount pump panel was designed to be free of discharges and intakes for the pump operator’s protection and to keep the area free of clutter. A Zico ladder rack makes it easy to deploy ladders. The pumper carries 1,200 feet of five-inch supply hose in the hose bed. (Fire Apparatus Photo)
Perforated slide-out tool boards
Perforated slide-out tool boards make mounting of tools and equipment in the compartments easy. The 4 Guys pumper has a 7,500-watt Onan generator with outlets strategically placed around the body and providing power for several Fire Research Corp. scene lights.

Todd Justice, the chief of the Piney Flats (Tenn.) Fire Department, didn’t get the memo about the fire service being resistant to change. His department became the first in his area to purchase a rear-mount pumper from 4 Guys built on a four-door Freightliner cab and chassis.

“The reason we went with a rear-mount was because we have lots of narrow roads and long driveways where there’s no room to pass,” Justice said. “With the rear-mount pumper, we can just pull right up and fight fire with the speedlays in the front and draft from the pump in the rear… We’ve had it on three fires since we put it in service and it has worked wonderfully. It does exactly what we wanted it to.”

The beauty of the rear-mount pumper, according to Justice is multifaceted. First, there’s no clutter for the pump operator. All hoses, intakes and discharges are away from the pump panel. Second, the apparatus is very quiet compared to traditional midship pumps closer to the engine. And, one of the biggest reasons the department is sold on rear-mount pumper is the shorter wheelbase.

Tight Quarters

Because of the tight quarters on some of the rural roads, Justice said, shorter apparatus make for better handling and maneuverability.

Doug Callan of Cove Creek Fire Trucks in Greenville, Tenn., the sales representative for the $292,000 pumper, said the apparatus is the first of its kind in the county due to a number of features. “They had some pretty definite ideas about how they wanted to fight fire when they designed this truck,” he said.

One distinguishing characteristic is that it has a custom pumper body on a commercial cab and chassis. Callan said department officials originally looked at a custom cab, but the price was a little more than they could afford. So they opted for the four-door Freightliner, which allowed them to get a bigger Mercedes Benz engine – at 435 hp – than they had planned.

“And it was important for them to have a shorter wheelbase,” Callan said. “They’ve got a great big Saulsbury pumper, and they wanted something a little smaller than that.”

Chief Justice also said the younger firefighters can be intimidated by the custom cab and chassis Saulsbury. “They are more comfortable with the commercial cab and chassis,” he said, “and they can handle it better too.”

Justice also noted that the purchase of the Freightliner with the Mercedes engine for the 2009 model year avoids having to deal with the tougher 2010 emissions standards. While saving money on the commercial cab, he said department officials went with a four-door model because the cab is filled for most responses even though it is an all-volunteer department.

Another distinctive feature on the new pumper is dual 1 3/4-inch, 200-foot speedlays in the front bumper. 4 Guys plumbed 2-inch lines and modified the front bumper area to accommodate them. “We didn’t even use the Freight liner front bumper,” Callan said, noting that the chrome alternative came from a custom cab manufacturer.

Justice called Callan “an awesome guy to deal with.” He said 4 Guys did its best to accommodate the desires of department members.

The pumper was purchased through the county government, which has a revolving apparatus account it shares with 10 communities in the area, according to Justice. The department drafted a list of specifications and gave them to the county to solicit bids. Two were received, and the department selected 4 Guys because of past experience with the Pennsylvania apparatus manufacturer. Piney Flats has a 2000 4 Guys tanker built on a Kenworth cab and chassis, and Justice said the department has had no problems with it.

“We really like their stainless steel bodies,” he said. “We don’t have to worry about rust or anything like that. We’ve been to the factory a couple of times, and they’re really great to work with.”

The department took delivery of the 2009 pumper in November.

Justice is particularly pleased with the craftsmanship 4 Guys exhibited, particularly in the pump house area. All the valve lever controls were bent with precision and lined up to avoid knuckles, making for smooth valve opening and closing.

The staff at 4 Guys convinced department officials to install slide-out tool boards with perforated panels, Justice said, and the feature is greatly appreciated because it makes tools readily accessible without the need for excessive drilling into the stainless steel body to fasten holders.

“There are just so many things we love about this truck, but the tool boards are right up there,” the chief said.

Firefighters also appreciate the Zico hydraulic ladder rack, he said. Department officials recently decided to carry 28-foot and 16-foot ladders to accommodate taller buildings in the community, he said, and the rack makes it easier to deploy the heavier ladders. The rack also provides a place to store hard suction hose and pike poles.

Justice said he’s also pleased the department specified a Class 1 electronic pump control system with electronic pressure control. “It makes it so much easier to teach rookies how to run the pump,” he said. “They don’t have to worry about setting the pressure relief valve.”

The new pumper will be the first due at all structure and chimney fires in the response district and will be part of the mutual aid response lineup as well. The 1997 Saulsbury engine will remain in front-line service, and with its aroundthe- pump foam system, it will be first to respond to the industrial sections of the community, which is just outside of Johnson City, where Justice is a career firefighter.

A Matter Of Style

Piney Flats is located on the same road as Bristol Motor Speedway, which is in its coverage area, in the rural northeast corner of Tennessee, wedged between Virginia and North Carolina. Justice said his 37 volunteers respond to an average of 200 calls annually, with another agency handling medical responses in the community of about 8,900 people.

He said the pumper fits well with the style of firefighting Piney Flats has developed – mounting aggressive interior attacks and “not standing outside shooting water in a window.”

The department recently switched to using all low-pressure, high-gallonage nozzles, and Justice said the interior firefighters are reporting good results. The 4 Guys pumper, with a Waterous 1,250-gpm pump and the on-board 750-gallon UPF tank packs a good firefighting punch, and with the tanker right behind with 2,500-gallons, he said firefighters have a good shot at gaining control during the initial attack.

Callan, the sales representative from Cove Creek Fire Trucks in Greenville, Tenn., can be reached at 423-639-0501.

2009 4 Guys/Freightliner Rear-Mount Pumper


  • 210-inch wheelbase: 210
  • Height, 10 feet, 5 inches
  • Length, 32 feet, 7 inches
  • Width, 101 inches


  • 14,600-pound front axle
  • 26,000-pound rear axle
  • MBE4000 435-hp engine
  • Allison 4000EVS transmission
  • Mercedes Benz compression/turbo brake
  • Driver-controlled wheel differential lock


  • Freightliner M2-112 four-door cab
  • Four Seats Inc. 911 SCBA seats
  • Dual remote heated mirrors
  • 12-gauge 304 grade stainless steel body with 20-year warranty
  • DuPont Imron 6000 paint with 10-year warranty
  • Cabinet doors with LED strip lighting.
  • Full-height and full-depth compartments
  • Four double spare SCBA bottle compartments in rear wheel wells

Pumping Features

  • Waterous CXVK125 1,250-gpm singlestage pump
  • Class 1 pressure governor
  • 6-inch rear suction with an electric master intake valve
  • Waterous thermal relief valve
  • Akron 8000 heavy-duty valves with 10- year warranty
  • Hannay booster reel mounted under the right rear cab step
  • 750-gallon UPF tank
  • 3-inch pre-piped deck gun
  • Sump box in rear step for a trash line
  • Pump controls located in left rear compartment

Other Features

  • On-Spot snow chains
  • Real wheel stainless steel wheel covers and trim kit
  • Kussmaul 1000 battery conditioner
  • Zico Quic-Lift ladder rack
  • Onan 7,500-watt generator
  • Fire Research Corp. Focus quartz lights
  • Hannay electric rewind cord reel
  • Whelen 9E fixed scene lights
  • Southern VP SA400 electronic siren
  • Federal Signal QB2 siren
  • Whelen LED warning lights

Price: $292,000


Piney Flats Volunteer Fire Department

Strength: 37 volunteers making 200 to 250 responses annually with little or no EMS calls except to assist agency with primary medical response duties.

Service area: 107 square miles in the mostly rural Johnson City-Bristol area of northeastern Tennessee, which has a population of 8,900 with a bit of industrial activity and long driveways in residential areas.

Other apparatus: 2000 4 Guys/Kenworth 2,500-gallon tanker; 1997 Saulsbury frontline pumper with around-the-pump foam; 1992 Pierce 75-foot rear-mount straight stick aerial; 1998 Pierce/Freightliner pumper; 2000 Ford flatbed brush truck with a S&S firefighting skid unit; Ford Excursion personnel carrier support vehicle.

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