The Southwestern Polk County (OR) Rural Fire District is in the process of merging with the neighboring Sheridan Fire District, with a vote on the proposition set for November 2021.
In the meantime, both fire districts had a need for new apparatus, so they turned to Midwest Fire to build four pumper-tankers, three of which would go to Southwestern Polk County and the fourth to Sheridan.
“We are trying to merge the two fire districts into one, with a single administration managing both entities,” says Damon Schulze, Southwestern Polk County’s deputy chief. “We are both combination departments; Southwestern Polk has three fire stations, 16 volunteer firefighters, six part-time paid firefighters, six full-time paid firefighters, one paramedic, and one emergency medical technician (EMT) who staff one of the stations. Sheridan Fire District has three stations, with 16 volunteer firefighters, two full-time paid firefighters, one paramedic, and one EMT staffing one station.”
The combined fire districts cover 223 square miles, Schulze notes, most of it rural and residential territory with pockets of commercial and industrial structures, including the city of Sheridan and the town of Rickreall.
1 Midwest Fire built four pumper-tankers on Freightliner M2-112 chassis and crew cabs for the Southwest Polk County (OR) Fire District. (Photos courtesy of Midwest Fire.)
2 The rigs have Hale RSD 1,250-gpm power takeoff (PTO) pumps, 2,000-gallon water tanks, 20-gallon foam tanks, and Hale SmartFOAM 2.1A proportioning systems.
3 Ladders, hard suction, and pike poles are stored in through-the tank compartments. Access to the tops of the vehicles is by a folding ladder seen at the left.
4 The pump panel on the Hale pump.
Southwestern Polk County (OR) Rural Fire District
Strength: Six full-time paid firefighters, six part-time paid firefighters, 16 volunteer firefighters, 3 stations.
Service area: The Southwestern Polk County Rural Fire District is seeking to merge with the Sheridan (OR) Fire District in November.
Other apparatus: Three Type 1 engines, 1,250-gpm pumps, 1,000-gallon water tanks; four water tenders (tankers), 2,000- and 3,000-gallon water tanks; three Type 3 four-wheel-drive wildland engines, 500-gpm pumps, 1,000-gallon water tanks, pump-and-roll capability; two Type 6 Ford Cascade wildland engines, skid pumps, 300-gallon water tanks; one heavy rescue truck; battalion chief’s vehicle; two advanced life support ambulances.
Schulze says the move to pumper-tankers is a change from the district’s current standard operating guidelines of running a Type 1 engine as first due. “Given the time of day and the location of a structure fire, we are never sure how many volunteers we would get to respond,” he points out, “so we wanted to capitalize on the first piece of apparatus to go to the scene and then get backed up by a Type 1 or a big water tender.”
Southwestern Polk County’s other apparatus include three Type 1 engines with 1,250-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pumps and 1,000-gallon water tanks; four water tenders (tankers) of 2,000 to 3,000 gallons; three Type 3 wildland engines with 1,000-gpm pumps and 500-gallon water tanks, each set up for pump-and-roll; two Type 6 Ford Cascade wildland engines with skid unit pumps and 300-gallon water tanks; one heavy rescue; one battalion chief’s vehicle; and two advanced life support ambulances.
Southwestern Polk had Midwest Fire build four identical pumper-tankers on Freightliner M2-112 chassis and four-door cabs with seating for five firefighters, four of them in Seats Inc. 911 model self-contained breathing apparatus seats, says Brett Jensen, Midwest Fire’s vice president and general manager. “The pumper-tankers have wheelbases of 242 inches, overall lengths of 34 feet 4 inches, and overall heights of 10 feet 7 inches. They have Hale RSD 1,250-gpm pumps; All-Poly® polypropylene bodies with sweep out-style compartments and 2,000-gallon water tanks; 20-gallon foam tanks; Hale SmartFOAM 2.1A proportioning systems; and two Monster tank level gauges, one on each side.”
Jensen notes that Midwest has seldom built 2,000-gallon tankers on tandem rear axles, but Southwestern Polk County wanted the maximum amount of storage available, which would not have been possible on a single rear axle. “We also had an overall length restriction on the pumper-tankers,” he observes, “because they have a lot of soft roads up there and wanted to carry the minimum amount of water to suit their needs and not be overweight on their soft roads.”
5 Lighting includes Whelen Justice LED light bars, two Whelen Pioneer LED telescoping spotlights behind the crew cabs, and six Whelen M9V2r warning and scene lights.
Midwest Fire Pumper-Tankers
- Freightliner M2-112 chassis and four-door cabs
- Seating for five firefighters, four in SCBA seats
- All-Poly® polypropylene bodies, water tanks, and sweep out-style compartments
- Overall lengths: 34 feet 4 inches
- Overall heights: 10 feet 7 inches
- Wheelbases: 242 inches
- Hale RSD 1,250-gpm PTO pumps
- 2,000-gallon water tanks
- 20-gallon foam tanks
- Hale SmartFOAM 2.1A proportioning systems
- Six Whelen LED combination scene/warning lights
- Rear-view camera systems
- Federal Q2B sirens
Schulze points out that the pumper-tankers have two 200-foot 1¾-inch hose crosslays, one 200-foot 2½-inch hose crosslay, 150 feet of 1¾-inch hose in a hose well and Elkhart Brass Sidewinder remote control monitors on the extended front bumpers, and Newton 10-inch square manual dump valves with telescoping chutes at the rear. The hosebeds carry 1,000 feet of 4-inch large diameter hose (LDH) and 500 feet of 2½-inch hose, which can be used either as supply or attack lines.”
He continues, “We also have a 2½-inch discharge and a 2½-inch direct tank fill at the rear and full-depth and full-height compartments covered by roll-up doors on both sides of the pumper-tankers to maximize storage, especially for our extrication rescue tools. The ladder complement, hard suction, and pike poles are stored in a through-the-tank compartment; we have four SCBA spare bottle storage compartments; and there’s a folding hosebed access ladder at the rear.”
Jensen says that the only difference in the pumper-tankers is that the Sheridan rig has a Will-Burt Night Scan light tower on it. All four pumpers have Whelen Justice series LED light bars, two Whelen Pioneer LED telescoping spotlights behind the crew cab, Whelen LED warning lights, six Whelen LED ground lights under the front bumpers, six Whelen M9V2r warning and scene lights (two each side and two at the rear), six Whelen C6 LED intersection lights, Whelen electronic sirens and speakers, rear-view cameras, and Federal Q2B manual sirens.
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.