Stillwater (MN) Replaces Nearly Thirty Year Old Fire Apparatus

The Stillwater Fire Department protects about 62 square miles of land — the majority doesn’t have fire hydrants. That makes the “water tender” tanker pumper a critical piece of equipment for transporting water to the scene of a fire.

Two weeks ago, Stillwater took delivery of a new water tender, which replaced a 27-year-old unit. The new unit, which made its inaugural fire call early in the morning of Jan. 22, is very similar to the old unit, but it meets any new standards of the National Fire Protection Association.

“The primary purpose is to bring water to our non-hydranted areas,” Capt. Chad Jansen said.

Built by Custom Fire Apparatus, based in Osceola, Wis., the new water tender is packed with features to make it more effective for attacking fires in rural areas.

It can carry 2,000 gallons of water, and it has a 1,000 gallon-per-minute pump. Tucked into the extended front bumper is a length of fire hose that is pre-connected to the tank, so crews can simply pull up to the scene and pull the hose out of the front to have an immediate water supply.

Stowed in a compartment on the driver’s side is a drop-down portable tank — essentially a pool that serves as a reservoir for other pumpers when needed. Using special water chutes, located on three sides of the vehicle, the water tender can offload its 2,000-gallon cargo in less than a minute and run for more water.

For large structure fires, Stillwater can team with nearby departments that have water tenders to form a “water shuttle” to keep the portable tank full.

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