Special Delivery: Rural Department Chooses UST for Rescue-Pumper

Alan M. Petrillo

The town covers 36 mostly rural square miles and has 23 paid on-call firefighters working out of a single station. But, the needs of the Manitowish Waters (WI) Fire Department, go well beyond the traditional rescue truck toolbox.

“We’re mostly a vacation and retirement community, but there are no hydrants in our coverage area,” says Manitowish Waters chief Skip Skrobot. “And, we needed our new apparatus to be a multiuse vehicle, so it’s designed as a rescue-pumper with a large water tank, almost as a triple-use truck.”

rescue-pumper for the Manitowish Waters (WI) Fire Department
(1) UST Fire Apparatus built this rescue-pumper for the Manitowish Waters
(WI) Fire Department with a Hale Q-MAX 1,500-gpm pump, a 1,000-gallon
water tank, a 30-gallon Class A foam tank, and a Hale CAFS Pro foam
system. (Photos courtesy of UST Fire Apparatus.)

Twist of Fate

Skrobot points out that sometimes a bit of luck puts a fire department and a vehicle manufacturer together. “Last year we had a couple of firefighters working at the station and had our trucks out on the ramp when John Woltman, president of UST Fire Apparatus, drove by on the way to a fire convention,” Skrobot says. “John turned around and stopped to talk with the firefighters, finding out that we were going to buy a new piece of apparatus. He told them he’d send some information and within three days we had a booklet about UST and some general specs for a rescue-pumper.”

The chief notes that the UST Fire Apparatus specs were “close to what we wanted. We’re a wholly owned independent fire company, a nonprofit organization incorporated in Wisconsin that sells our services to the town of Manitowish Waters. So, we went to several apparatus manufacturers to see what they could offer us in terms of a rescue-pumper.”

Skrobot says that one of the considerations for going with a rescue-pumper was that the fire department has a major two-lane state road, Highway 51, running north-south through the town. “The highway has a lot of crossroads and we’re out there quite a bit for rescues, so we wanted to design this vehicle with features that could address the situations we’d find on that highway,” he points out.

Manitowish Waters received bids on its specs from four manufacturers and ultimately awarded the contract to UST Fire Apparatus in December 2012. The rig was delivered in June 2013.

The Manitowish Waters rescue-pumper
(2) The Manitowish Waters rescue-pumper has full depth and full height
compartments on the officer’s side to carry preconnected extrication
equipment as well as an assortment of hand tools on drop-down trays and
slide-out boards.

Equipment Hauler

Mark Meaders, chief executive officer of UST, says the department wanted to carry a lot of equipment on the rescue-pumper. “They needed a lot of specialized storage space, so we designed in tool boards, slide-out trays, and custom mounts of their extrication equipment so it was easy to access,” Meaders says. “Everything was mounted in such a way to save space and maximize the ease of use.”

Woltman says the job was all about meeting the requirements of the fire department. “They provided us with a minimum list of equipment they wanted carried on the truck and we exceeded it in every instance,” he says. “Also, they wanted to carry a pumper’s ground ladders on the vehicle, so we designed a ladder chute that runs alongside the water tank in a vertical orientation.”

front bumper of the vehicle
(3) The front bumper of the vehicle features a hose compartment and a
2½-inch discharge connection.

Skrobot notes that UST Fire Apparatus had built a similar vehicle for the neighboring Arbor Vitae Fire Department, and when Manitowish’s firefighters checked it out, “we were impressed with the workmanship and the configuration of the vehicle. It was similar to what we wanted.”

Suppression Systems

Another feature that Manitowish wanted on its rescue-pumper, Skrobot says, was a compressed air foam system (CAFS). “We use CAFS on almost everything,” he says. “It gives us a quicker knockdown, and the guys are less tired from fighting the hose. We have been using CAFS for 10 years and have been on a number of calls where we’ve opened up and knocked down the fire quickly because of CAFS. We’ve also used it effectively on wildland fires.”

The rescue-pumper's rear compartment
(4) The rescue-pumper’s rear compartment carries a portable generator,
electrical line, and a six-inch water intake.

On this vehicle, Skrobot says the department decided it wanted the rig to be as maneuverable as possible, so it only put a 1,000-gallon water tank on it to go with the Hale Q-MAX 1,500-gpm pump. “Our six-man cab lets us get enough firefighters to the scene,” he says, “and all of our apparatus carry floating and low level strainers for drafting. We can even bore through the ice in winter to get water quickly.”

The rescue-pumper carries an Akron Brass deck gun with stacked tips and a stream-shaper nozzle, Skrobot notes. “The deck gun isn’t CAFS-piped,” he says. “However, we have a front bumper line that has 150 feet of 1¾-inch hoseline that handles CAFS.”

Meaders adds that the rescue-pumper carries two stainless steel coffin compartments on the top of the vehicle, one on each side, as well as a half-dozen 2½-inch discharges and two crosslays holding 200 feet of 1¾-inch hose.

Two coffin compartments and an aluminum-framed hosebed cover
(5) Two coffin compartments and an aluminum-framed hosebed cover are
at the top of the Manitowish Waters rescue-pumper and can be accessed
off of a Zico ladder.

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.


UST Fire Apparatus Rescue-Pumper

• Spartan MetroStar cab
• UST Fire Apparatus Guardian pinch-frame custom chassis
• Stainless steel body
• 225-inch wheelbase
• 35-foot overall length
• 10-foot 7½-inch overall height
• Cummins 450-hp ISL9 diesel engine
• Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission
• Hale Q-MAX 1,500-gpm top-mount pump
• 1,000-gallon water tank
• 30-gallon Class A foam tank
• Hale FoamLogic proportioning system
• Hale CAFS Pro foam system
• Four 2½-inch discharges, two each curbside and streetside
• One 2½-inch front discharge
• One 2½-inch rear discharge with hosebed preconnect
• Akron Brass deck gun
• Harrison 8-kW PTO generator
• ROM roll-up doors
• Zico rear ladder
• Whelen LED scene lights, body lights, and step lights
• Whelen 60-inch Freedom light bar

Price with equipment: $474,299


Manitowish Waters (WI) Fire Department

Strength: 23 paid on-call firefighters, one station.

Service area: Provides fire protection, rescue, and basic EMS service to the 36-square-mile township of Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin. The coverage area has a year-round population of 700 but is a popular vacation and retirement area, with a unique connection of 10 lakes linked by navigable channels that are fronted by many vacation homes. The area has a small business community and one small manufacturing facility.

Other apparatus: 2004 International enclosed top-mount pumper, 1,500-gpm pump, 1,000-gallon water tank, CAFS unit; 2004 Pierce Freightliner pumper-tanker, 1,500-gpm pump, 3,000-gallon water tank, CAFS unit; 2007 Sterling tandem axle elliptical tanker (tender), 500-gpm portable pump, 3,000-gallon water tank, three dump valves; Chevrolet pickup truck, 150-gpm pump, 300-gallon water tank, 500-gpm portable pump; 2008 Marque Class 3 ambulance.

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