The Kings County (CA) Fire Department has a huge coverage area of 1,392 square miles one hour south of Fresno, covering the county, two unincorporated cities, and the two incorporated cities of Corcoran and Avenal, with a total population of 153,000.
But growth in the department’s rural areas, where farmland is being converted to massive solar energy farms with little in the way of roadways, meant the department needed to purchase several 4×4 Type 3 wildland urban interface (WUI) pumpers to cover the new potential hazards.
Joshua Cunningham, the department’s assistant chief, says Kings County had two Type 3 WUI rigs but needed to add three more to cover the county properly. “We have had eight solar facilities either building or built in our district, with the smallest being 700 acres and the largest about 5,000 acres,” Cunningham observes. “Our Type 1 engines would have a difficult time negotiating the rural road systems to those various solar facilities, so we knew we needed to add more Type 3 WUI engines to our fleet.”
1 The Kings County (CA) Fire Department had HME Ahrens-Fox build three Type 3 WUI engines on 4×4 International HV507 4×4 commercial chassis and four-door cabs with seating for five firefighters. (Photos courtesy of Kings County Fire Department.)
Kings County (CA) Fire Department
Strength: 75 full-time paid firefighters, two bulldozer personnel; 10 stations.
Service area: The department responds to structure, vehicle, wildland, and grass fires; emergency medical services (EMS); traffic accidents; hazardous materials incidents; and various other public assistance calls in 1,392 square miles of Kings County, which has a population of 153,000. The department responds to more than 5,100 calls annually, averaging nearly 14 calls per day.
Other apparatus: 14 Type 1 engines, two Type 3 WUI engines, seven Type 6 engines, one 110-foot aerial ladder, one bulldozer.
James Demattei, president of Derotic Emergency Equipment, says the Kings County Fire Department came to him and ordered three Type 3 WUI engines, all identical, to handle the issue of the solar farms going up in the department’s coverage area. “They needed 4×4 capability for nonimproved roads, the ability to handle both structural and wildland fires, a foam system, and pump-and-roll capability,” Demattei points out. “That’s what we gave them with three HME Ahrens-Fox Model 34F WUI engines.”
The three rigs are on International HV507 4×4 commercial chassis and four-door cabs with seating for five firefighters, Demattei says. “The wheelbase on the rigs is 183 inches, so they can get into tight spots that a Type 1 engine could not,” he says. “Overall length is 26 feet 6 inches, and overall height is 9 feet 7 inches.”
2 The Kings County Type 3 WUI engines carry Darley JMP 500-gpm midship pumps, 500-gallon water tanks, 20-gallon foam tanks, Darley 1-1/2-AGE-24K auxiliary pumps for pump and roll, and FoamPro 1600/2.0 foam proportioning systems.
3 The HME Ahrens-Fox Type 3 WUI engines have wheelbases of 183 inches and overall lengths of 26 feet 6 inches, which allows them to get into tight places that a Type 1 engine couldn’t reach.
4 The Type 3 WUI pumpers are powered by 350-hp diesel engines and Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmissions.
Each of the Type 3 WUI pumpers is powered by a 350-horsepower (hp) engine and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission, carrying a Darley JMP 500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) midship pump, a 500-gallon polypropylene water tank, a 20-gallon polypropylene foam tank, a FoamPro 1600/2.0 foam proportioning system, a Darley 1-1/2-AGE 24K auxiliary pump for pump-and-roll, a FRC PumpBoss pressure governor, a FRC TankVision water tank gauge, and a Hale ESPA-12 electric primer.
Cunningham points out that the rigs have two 1¾-inch crosslays of 200 feet each above the 27-inch-wide modular pump module that has HME Ahrens-Fox’s Hydra Technology, two 2½-inch rear discharges (left and right), two 2½-inch front discharges (left and right), and 150 feet of ¾-inch hard rubber hose on a Hannay electric booster reel.
HME Ahrens-Fox WUI Engine
- International HV507 commercial chassis and 4-door cab
- Seating for five firefighters
- Wheelbase: 183 inches
- Overall length: 26 feet 6 inches
- Overall height: 9 feet 7 inches
- Cummins 350-hp L9 engine
- Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission
- Darley JMP 500-gpm pump
- Darley 1-1/2-AGE 24K auxiliary pump for pump and roll
- 500-gallon polypropylene water tank
- 20-gallon polypropylene foam tank
- FoamPro 1600/2.0 foam proportioning system
- Whelen LED warning light package
- HiViz Maxxima® LED scene and flood lights
5 The hosebeds on the Type 3 engines hold 800 feet of 3-inch supply line, 1,000 feet of single jacket 1½-inch hose, and 600 feet of 1-inch single jacket hose.
6 The 27-inch-wide modular pump modules on the Type 3 WUI pumpers use HME Ahrens-Fox’s Hydra Technology.
“The three Type 3 WUI engines are set up identical to provide continuity across the fleet,” he says. “They are outfitted with all the same equipment mounted on each of the pumpers, as well as in the same compartments in all three vehicles.”
The hosebeds of the three WUI Type 3 engines each hold 800 feet of 3-inch supply line, 1,000 feet of single jacket 1½-inch hose, and 600 feet of 1-inch single jacket hose, Cunningham says. They are covered by a pair of hinged aluminum hosebed covers. “On the front bumper, we have 100 feet of single jacket 1½-inch hose as a vehicle protection line,” he notes, “and a 15-foot Stinger line of double-jacketed 1½-inch hose that’s used for mobile attack.”
Demattei points out the Type 3 WUI engines each have a Whelen LED warning light package, a Whelen LED traffic advisor, HiViz Maxxima LED scene lights and flood lights on the sides and the rear, three full-height pull-out tool boards in the L2 compartment, a backup camera, and a Federal EQ2B electronic siren.
Cunningham sums up what Kings County needed in its new WUI rigs: “We needed four-wheel drive, structural firefighting capability, wildland firefighting capability, and more firefighting power and water than our Type 6 engines could provide,” he says. “We were able to get exactly what we wanted and needed from HME Ahrens-Fox in our Type 3 WUI engines.”
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.