University Place Looks To Future With E-ONE Aerial

In the realm of aerials, the University Place (Wash.) Fire Department leaped ahead nearly 25 years when it accepted delivery of an E-ONE Cyclone II, 100-foot rear-mount ladder this summer.

Department officials were looking for improved safety, vastly increased compartment space for rescue tools, a solution for mildew problems and an apparatus that could meet the needs of a rapidly growing town of 33,000 on Puget Sound just west of Tacoma.

One aspect of that growth is a residential-commercial town center project that is under construction and includes two 10-story buildings.

The E-ONE was purchased for $840,000 to replace a 1984 65-foot Sutphen mid-mount quint.

“The Sutphen, with only four compartments, had virtually no space for equipment,” said Battalion Chief Tim LaRue. “All the compartments were lower ones without much depth. Also, hydraulic lines ran through the compartments so there was always some fluid leaking.”

The new aerial has six full-size compartments, 24 to 26 inches deep, to house larger equipment such as saws and fans. In addition, it has several shallow, 12 to 14-inch-deep compartments with tool boards. “It’s tall but necessarily so in order to equip the truck for both fire and rescue,” LaRue said.

Height was a factor in the selection of E-ONE over Pierce, he said. The two manufacturers submitted similar bids, he said, but the Pierce Quantum custom cab and chassis under consideration was 12 feet, four inches high.

“We had spec’d a max height of 12 feet,” LaRue said. “The truck committee unanimously decided the E-ONE was a better fit for us. Also, E-ONE was especially interested in working with us in terms of compartment space.”

Committee members were initially interested in a Quest custom cab, which had been seen at the 2007 Fire Department Instructors Conference trade show, where it was introduced. But they decided on a Cyclone II after being told that one was available along with a 2004-certified Detroit Diesel engine still in its crate – meaning they did not have to deal with 2007 emissions standards.

The department purchased the aerial through Mark Merritt, the owner of Cascade Fire and Safety, Inc., E-ONE’s dealer for the states of Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

LaRue said Merritt invited members of the truck committee to the E-ONE plant in Ocala, Fla. for a three-day aerial introduction program that was attended by representatives of a number of fire departments.

“We were in Ocala a total of four times, the aerial class, pre-construction, mid-construction and the final visit,” he said. “The people at the plant were always nice to us. Mark, our sales contact, never had a problem with anything we needed to know. We probably spoke with him hundreds of times, and every time he came through for us. Even after delivery Mark stayed on top of it and answered every one of our requests.”

During one of the Ocala visits, Merritt said, E-ONE workers were getting ready to punch out the pump panel and asked truck committee members where they wanted each element to be located. “So, they sat down, designed the panel to their wishes and then created it,” he recalled. “The same was true for placement of vent fans and compartment lights. The builders asked the [UPFD] visitors where to put each element. The people on the line stayed around during their lunch break and after their shift to answer questions.”

LaRue said one of the truck committee’s objectives was improved safety. “This is an enclosed cab versus our old open crew area,” he said. “The pressure-sensitive seats tell you if someone does not have their seatbelt on, and it has a roll cage. We also have eight 750-watt floodlights. Four of them are on the aerial. Others are mounted on the side, so if you’re looking for addresses or a car by the side of the road, you’ll have enough light to do it.”

The department ordered the aerial with a built-in hydraulic generator. “We had portable generators, but we ended up only getting a couple years out of them and had to replace them for about $5,000,” LaRue said. “So we thought we’d step up and do it right. In the short time we’ve had it, it’s been really nice.”

Aerial safety features built into the E-ONE are appreciated by Jerrod Lugo, a University Place firefighter/EMT who has been trained on the apparatus. “Tip controls are available to guys on the ladder, and that means easy handling,” he said. “There is a dead man switch on the ladder console, and the operator must hold it in order to give control over to the tip. At the tip, there are two fold-down steps with pressure pads. There must be pressure on both pads before the tip controls can move the aerial.”

E-ONE’s jack system was another selling point for the department. LaRue described it as a four-jack, under-slung system with a 13-foot spread. “This meant no loss of compartment space because it’s under the body,” he said. “It’s fast and there are no pins involved. A guy can set it up in 40 seconds including putting the chocks down and getting pads in place. The hydraulic system has leveling eyes in the back, and it can set up on a 12-degree slope. The front tires may be three feet off the ground, but you can do it and deploy the stick in any angle, full of water or not.”

The aerial is equipped with a computer at the ladder control panel that provides a variety of information, including: elevation; temperature at the tip; angle; extension; a graphic showing how many people can be on the ladder at one time; water flow and pressure; and engine temperature and oil pressure. “With the engine diagnostics shown on the computer at the turntable,” LaRue said, “there’s no need to run to the cab to see the engine readings.”

Another feature is a front drop-down bumper line with 100 feet of 1.75-inch hose in a 10-by-24-inch box, the first one of its kind made by E-ONE, according to LaRue. “The center back has a 90-degree fitting plumbed to the pump,” he said. “Hose is loaded so that when you drop the bottom out of the box, the nozzle ends up right on top of the hose, so all you have to do is grab the nozzle and go. It’s great for car fires, dumpster fires and brush fires.”

Because the hose is positioned on the front bumper, he said the firefighter deploying it is protected from traffic zones. “We’ll use it all the time,” he said. “We also had lights installed under the bumper so it’s easy to find the nozzle in the dark.”

One nagging problem the committee hoped to solve with the new aerial is mildew damage in truck compartments. “We put fans and vents in each compartment,” LaRue said. “They’re on timers and turn on every six hours to keep everything dry. Here, in Washington State, we get a lot of rain and that leads to mildew problems, so we were always cleaning and repainting tools.”

 Every section of each compartment is also equipped with lights. “There are between 30 and 40 lights just for compartment illumination,” he said.

The number of compartments will allow rescue gear to be carried on the E-ONE, fulfilling another of the truck committee’s objectives. “A lot of our rescue stuff was on our engines because we had no room on our previous aerial,” LaRue said. “Now we can carry most of that rescue equipment, freeing up space on the engines.”

The E-ONE was delivered in June and went into service in early July. The overall price tag was $880,000, which includes $40,000 in additional new equipment. The department’s next scheduled replacement is an engine in 2011.

For more information call 800-572-3939 or to

2008 E-ONE Cyclone II, 100-foot rear-mount aerial


  • 230-inch wheelbase
  • 142 inches high
  • 40 feet, 2 inches long
  • 100 inches wide
  • Cyclone II X medium cab, six occupants
  • Meritor 21,000-pound front axle rating
  • Meritor 48,000-pound tandem rear axle rating
  • Detroit Diesel Series 60 515-hp engine
  • Allison 4000EVS transmission
  • Body aerial HP100 with center hose bed and left and right extended high sides
Fire Suppression Features
  • Hale Qmax 2,000-gpm pump
  • 300-gallon tank
  • Akron valves
  • Elkhart Scorpion RF 1,000-gpm monitor with tip and base controls
  • Eight discharges, 1.75-inch drop-down bumper line, two 1.75-inch crosslays, one 2.5-inch crosslay, two 2.5-inch discharges, one 5-inch discharge
  • 750 feet of 5-inch supply line in center hose bed with right rear chute
Other features
  • Vehicle information system with GPS
  • Aerial information system
  • HP100 ladder with pinned waterway, left side console, split steps at tip
  • Jack leg flood lights
  • Bostrom Air Ride seats, three rear SCBA seats
  • 10,000-watt SmartPower hydraulic generator
  • Eight Fire Research 750-watt quartz lights, four on the aerial and four on the truck
  • Alco-Lite ladders

More Fire Apparatus Current Issue Articles
More Fire Apparatus Archives Issue Articles

No posts to display