Vigilant Hose Co. No. 1, of Port Vue, Pennsylvania, wanted to replace a 1994 flat-nose Mack pumper that had limited cab space with an up-to-date pumper with more crew cab room and more compartmentation space but was still on a shorter wheelbase that would come in at under 30 feet long.
The resulting new pumper was purchased from 4 Guys Fire Trucks and sold through Flashover Fire Apparatus, says Ron Vezzani Jr., Flashover's owner. "Port Vue bought an aerial from us in the mid 1990s," he says, “so this traditional pumper is the second time they've come to us and 4 Guys."
The new pumper is built on a Spartan Metro Star chassis with extra medium four door (EMFD) cab with seating for six firefighters, a Spartan Advanced Protection System (APS) for the occupants, and a stainless steel body. It is powered by a 450-horsepower (hp) Cummins ISL 9 diesel engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission.
4 Guys satisfied the requirements laid down by Vigilant Hose Co.'s truck committee, bringing the pumper in at 29 feet 10 inches long on a wheelbase of 182 inches and with an overall height of nine feet six inches.
John Kerr, chief of Vigilant Hose Co. No. 1, says there are a lot of hills in his protection district, so the truck committee didn't want a vehicle with a long front bumper. "We wanted to be able to maneuver through tight turns," Kerr says, "so we ended up with a standard Spartan six-inch front bumper with no front intake and a 12-inch-deep rear bumper. Our front apron sits at an angle up from the road, so there are issues getting in and out, especially when backing up. And, Port Vie is all hills, so a long wheelbase would give us problems with bottoming out and making the bends in roads."
Kerr says that Vigilant Hose had a small truck committee that brought the pumper specs to firefighter meetings before the building process in order to get suggestions about moving equipment around on the rig. "We are only one and a half hours away from the 4 Guys factory, so we were able to go there and check out the progress on the pumper as it was being built," he notes.
Vigilant Hose's other vehicles include a 1995 4 Guys tanker built on a Mack chassis with 1,500-gpm pump and 1,000-gallon tank and a 1967 Mack pumper with a 750-gpm pump and 500-gallon water tank. The fire company has 50 volunteer firefighters on the rolls, with 25 of them being active firefighters.
The new pumper has a Waterous CXS 1,500-gpm side-mounted pump enclosed behind a ROM roll-up door, a 1,000-gallon United Plastic Fabricating Poly water tank, and a 30-gallon foam tank, Kerr says. It also stores a Stokes basket above the pump house, has a Harrison 6-kW hydraulic generator, a Hannay electric cable reel, a Task Force Tips remote control deck gun, spare SCBA bottle storage in the wheel wells, and a pull-out oil dry hopper in the wheel well.
The pumper has two crosslays with 200 feet of 1¾-inch hose each, two 2½-inch discharges on each side of the pump panel, two prepiped three-inch discharges at the rear of the rig (one for a three-inch hoseline and the other for a three-inch line connected to a Task Force Tips Blitzfire nozzle), and 1,250 feet of five-inch LDH in 50-foot lengths in the hosebed. The rig also has Whelen and Mars warning lights, a Roto Ray front light, four Whelen scene lights (two each side), and two portable scene lights on tripods.
Kerr points out that there is no wasted space on the pumper. "We wanted to fully utilize all the areas on the vehicle," he says. "We had a refrigerator installed in a compartment on the officer's side of the pumper for rehab, and we plan to install a small microwave oven, snacks area, and hand sanitizer on the vehicle."
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and 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.