By Chris Mc Loone
Extinguishing industrial fires, such as those occurring at refineries, requires massive amounts of water and foam or both. These types of incidents require a tremendous degree of coordination to establish the water supplies necessary for the required flows.
For many years, Union County, New Jersey, has deployed the Union County Neptune Task Force for these types of fires. The task force maintains a variety of equipment, including 12-inch hose, Kidde’s Neptune system, and an Iron Man nozzle. Deputy Chief Carl Heitmeyer, of the Elizabeth (NJ) Fire Department, coordinates an annual drill where task force members go through an evolution to achieve a target flow, usually between 5,000 and 8,000 gallons per minute (gpm). Besides putting the system in service for large fires, it also helped dewater tunnels after Hurricane Sandy.
Bob Gliem, industrial products specialist for Ferrara Fire Apparatus, was in New Jersey for a fire expo in 2016 when Heitmeyer conducted the task force’s annual drill. The two have known each other for 10 years because they both have taught at the flammable liquid school at Texas A&M. Gliem contacted Heitmeyer because Ferrara had a truck in the state and asked if he could bring the truck to the drill to demonstrate it. This year, Heitmeyer invited Gliem back to New Jersey to participate in a pump school for Philips 66 that Heitmeyer was helping to coordinate. Gliem accepted the invitation and arranged for Ferrara and US Fire Pump to participate.
“We’d been looking for an opportunity to do something like this for a year, and this was a perfect location,” says Gliem. “The layout of the pier—it was good geographically, logistically, and everything worked to get this equipment deployed.” Planning for the event took six months. Organizers ran it as an actual incident, bringing in mutual aid, using unified command, and bringing in additional resources. Target flows for the event were in the 40,000- to 51,000-gpm range. The Neptune Task Force also participated and faced an added level of complexity with the extra equipment Ferrara brought to the evolution.
According to Gliem, the entire evolution required close to two days to set up. “We took our time as well,” he says. “We didn’t rush. There was no urgency. We wanted to make sure we were doing things correctly. It was the first time a lot of these people had seen anything like this. When [Heitmeyer’s] people do their drill, they basically have a predetermined amount of hose they put on the ground. They know exactly where to spot their equipment. So, we really added a lot more equipment, a lot more hose, more vehicles, the fire boat—everything kind of threw a wrench into what these guys had been doing in the past. It was a good exercise. I think everybody got a chance to see what the effort would take if the day would ever come where you’d need this kind of water volume.”
Ferrara and US Fire Pump Equipment
According to Gliem, Ferrara and US Fire Pump brought a variety of equipment. Ferrara brought a Philips 66 pumper, which was later delivered to a Philips 66 facility in Borger, Texas. This truck features a Hale 3,000-pump and two Task Force Tips (TFT) Monsoon monitors mounted to the back corners of the rig, both rated at 2,000 gpm. The company also brought an Inundator Super Pumper with a rear-mount pump capable of flowing 5,500 gpm from draft. The truck features four 8-inch intakes as well as a TFT Tsunami monitor capable of flowing 8,000 gpm and two TFT Monsoon monitors on the back corners rated at 2,000 gpm each. “So, that truck,” says Gliem, “with a pressurized source can flow 12,000 gpm or more on its own.”
Additionally, US Fire Pump provided a deluge unit mounted on a commercial chassis. There is no pump on the truck but, according to Gilem, “It’s got every adapter that you could possibly think of that anybody uses in the Continental United States. If that truck were to roll out on an incident, you could basically make something work with the adapter complement it has.” The deluge unit has two 12-inch inlets, an 8,000-gpm Williams Fire and Hazard monitor, and two 5,000-gpm Elkhart Magnum EXM monitors.
Ferrara also brought a hose-carrying vehicle to the evolution built on a Ford F-550 chassis.
Also on hand was the FDNY’s Three Forty Three fire boat, which can flow up to 50,000 gpm and was responsible for supplying water to two of the Ferrara rigs.
US Fire Pump supplied a new 10,000-gpm submersible pump that fed a US Fire Pump 6250 trailer pump. Gliem says, “When the 10,000-gpm submersible feeds the trailer pump, the trailer pump can put out about 9,000 gpm at 150 pounds per square inch (psi).” That pump fed a trailer-mounted TFT Tsunami flowing around 9,000 gpm on its own.
US Fire Pump also brought its newly released 3,000-gpm submersible unit that fed the Philips 66 truck by itself.
The Philips 66 rig, as mentioned before, was supplied by the US Fire Pump 3,000-gpm submersible pump. The Ferrara Inundator and deluge trucks were supplied partially by the Three Forty Three and the 10,000-gpm US Fire Pump unit pumping to the 6250.
According to Gliem, the Three Forty Three supplied two 12-inch lines coming off its deck manifolds. One 12-inch line went to a spider manifold that diverted some of the water to the Inundator Super Pumper, which was also fed from US Fire Pump’s 6250. “So, the Super Pumper was stealing some water from the fire boat,” says Gliem. “The rest of the water from the fire boat was going through that manifold, because it’s a pass-through manifold, to the deluge truck. And, the other 12-inch line was going straight from the fire boat to the back of the deluge truck.”
The 12-inch line used was mostly from the Neptune Task Force. Organizers tried to lay out the evolution based on hoselays, which are different when using 12-inch hose. “When you’re talking big 12-inch hose, most of your hose is between 500 and 660 feet long,” says Gliem. “When you’re putting hose like that on the ground, it doesn’t really snake as nice and easy as 5-inch hose would. The issue is the radius becomes much larger, and if you don’t have a good radius, you can’t make a bend without putting a kink in it.”
The New Jersey Neptune systems use 12-inch line in 500-foot lengths, so Ferrara borrowed shorter links from IMTT in Bayonne, New Jersey. This hose, in shorter lengths, was used to supply the two Ferrara vehicles being supplied by the fire boat.
Whenever a department sets up a drill of this type, it must keep in mind the setup and cleanup time, and packing 12-inch line is no joke. Units were allowed to set up the day before the drill on the pier, but there was a finite period of time for organizers to conduct the drill before they had to begin picking up. Because of the narrow window and the fact that everyone was still learning as they went, not every monitor flowed water at the same time. “We weren’t flowing every monitor on every truck,” says Gliem, “because we were finding some limitations in our hoselays. We were still doing some testing and troubleshooting.” That being said, when units started the test flows, the flows were what organizers expected, although not what they hoped to achieve. “When you add up all the devices that were flowing, we were right around 49,000 gpm,” says Gliem. “We were hoping to hit 51,000, but we never quite got there and were running out of time.”
Around the world, refineries are coming into existence that are larger than anything we are seeing in the United States. They require bigger equipment and higher flows. It is only a matter of time before we see some of these stateside. “I’ve been doing a lot of world travel, and I’m going to some facilities that are being built that are just enormous,” says Gliem. “They are dwarfing some of the refineries here in the States. And, we need bigger equipment, more hose, more water because the threat is there. I think when these fire chiefs and these emergency response professionals look at and evaluate their response needs, they’re realizing that they need bigger equipment and bigger appliances. Ferrara and US Fire Pump are at the forefront of making that happen.”
Gliem cites the Inundator, a Guinness World Record title holder for the highest pumping capacity fire engine, and the company’s SkyFlow, offering the largest flow capacity with an elevated master stream, as examples of how Ferrara Fire Apparatus is addressing the need for these types of units. “We’re working partners. We don’t build everything ourselves,” he says. “Foam systems are not ours. So, we bring in manufactured foam systems. We’re using other people’s components to build our trucks, and it’s great. We use a little bit of everybody in our trucks.”
CHRIS Mc LOONE, senior editor of Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, is a 24-year veteran of the fire service currently serving as a safety officer and former assistant chief with Weldon Fire Company (Glenside, PA). He has served on past apparatus and equipment purchasing committees. He has also held engineering officer positions, where he was responsible for apparatus maintenance and inspection. He has been a writer and an editor for more than 20 years.