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Special Delivery: KME Builds Do-It-All Pumper Tanker For Summerdale

Summerdale's KME custom pumper tanker has a 1,800-gallon tank.
Summerdale’s KME custom pumper tanker has a 1,800-gallon tank.

Firefighters with Summerdale (Pa.) Fire Company can’t always count on a hydrant for fire suppression. That’s why they bought a 2008 KME custom pumper tanker with a 1,800-gallon tank.

Summerdale Fire Company, Station 20, is part of the East Pennsboro Fire Department, located across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg, an area described as suburban and rural.

“We have some areas without hydrants that will never have hydrants,” said Jim Bumgardner, who is Summerdale’s chief engineer and chief of the East Pennsboro Fire Department. “That’s why we need a bigger tank. We often end up hauling the water to the scene.”

To achieve that mission, Summerdale purchased a $630,000 KME pumper tanker built on a custom Predator X-MFD cab and chassis with a 12-inch raised roof and capacity for seven occupants.

As a 100 percent volunteer fire company, Summerdale decided to go with a pumper tanker combination, which is the first due apparatus for nearly all calls in the non-hydranted area, Bumgardner said. Short daytime staffing means the department can concentrate all personnel in one apparatus and have enough firepower for an initial attack, he said.

Amplifying that capability is 25 gallons of Class A and 50 gallons of Class B foam on board in integrated tanks. Bumgardner said the apparatus carries an additional dozen 5-gallon buckets of foam in the dunnage area above the high side compartments on the engineer’s side. Backboards are carried in two vertical flat compartments on the outside of that dunnage area.

The foam and backboards are vital to the operation of Summerdale, which is part of a regional foam task force and provides coverage on Interstate 81, a major access highway in the region. Summerdale also covers a significant north/south rail yard.

In addition to outfitting the KME pumper/tanker with foam, Bumgardner said Summerdale is putting together a 28-foot foam trailer with 700 gallons of Class B foam and two Elkhart monitors.

Because of the do-it-all nature of the KME, he said it is equipped with an Amkus combination extrication tool and a medical supply compartment, which provides basic rescue and emergency medical service capabilities. Extensive medical and rescue equipment isn’t required, he said, because the department does not run medical calls as a rule, except to assist with serious incidents.

“We tried to make it as flexible as we could to meet any demands we could face,” Bumgardner said.

Summerdale’s front-line engine for most calls is a 1992 Grumman rescue pumper that was refurbished in 1996 by KME. It responds first to calls in the hydranted part of the community and for all rescue calls, while the new KME pumper/tanker is second due. In that role, the 2008 apparatus becomes a water supply unit when necessary and can be part of a tanker shuttle. It has a 10-inch Newton dump valve on the back with a chute that permits discharge on either side as well as out the back.

Bumgardner said the new rig also has two 3-inch quick fills on the back of the apparatus that have clapper valves. When the tank is filled, and the fill line has been removed, the internal clapper automatically closes the fill valve, making for very quick disconnects. “They work very well,” he said, “and we’re really glad we did it.”

Bumgardner said something else firefighters like are the Elkhart valves with gear actuators and hand crank wheels on the pump panel. They are easier to use than lever valves, and allow the pump operator to have more control, he said. A dial indicator in the center of the crank wheel provides information about the valve’s position.

He said the sales representative, Lo Barrick of Fire & Rescue Products in Harrisburg, convinced department officials to specify the hand crank-controlled valves.

Other features on the apparatus include a Roto-Ray warning light system and a Federal Q2 siren, a couple of extra features that Bumgardner considers necessities. “I wanted a Roto-Ray,” he said, “and the [Summerdale] chief said it wasn’t a fire truck without a Federal Q on it.”

The cab features a DVD player, which Bumgardner said was an extra the firefighters wanted. It plays on the screen used for the backup camera image. There is a practical purpose for the feature, he said, noting the department will be able to use the system for electronic information regarding hazardous materials, particularly those they might encounter in the rail yard.

Summerdale decided to make the cab a little more spacious by specifying seven seats instead of the eight that it could have handled. Bumgardner said the new National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) rules that require two-person crews for attacks means the apparatus can accommodate three crews with one operator remaining with the apparatus.

The pumper/tanker was bought through East Pennsboro township, which has a total of six stations. Funds for the truck were raised from tax dollars, and Bumgardner said he was pleased KME was the low bidder by tens of thousands of dollars.

Summerdale had a good experience with KME refurbishing the 1992 Grumman, he said, and everyone was comfortable with the privately-owned family business.

“Everyone up there at KME is a real craftsman,” he said. “If you want something, they are willing to make it if it is at all possible. They are a true custom builder.”

 He said was impressed with the accessibility of top management, including the owner John Kovatch, and it helps that the factory is about an hour from the station.

East Pennsboro also has a 100-foot KME Aerialcat platform in the fleet at another station, and Bumgardner said it’s been very reliable.


Summerdale Fire Company, East Pennsboro Township, Pa.

Strength: 24 volunteers in a department with six stations and 150 volunteer members providing fire and rescue coverage and occasional assistance on medical calls. Approximately 300 calls annually.

Service area: Suburban and rural area on the outskirts of Harrisburg, with a population of about 20,000, which swells to 50,000 during the day. Coverage area includes an interstate and a rail yard.

Other apparatus: 1992 Grumman rescue engine; 2003 Ford/Firematic brush truck; 1992 Ford Explorer utility truck; 1998 Chevy Tahoe chief’s car; 2009 foam trailer under construction to carry 700 gallons of Class B foam and two Elkhart Brass monitors.

KME Pumper/Tanker

Chassis

  • KME Predator X-MFD seven-occupant cab and chassis
  • Cummins 500-hp engine
  • Allison 4000EVS transmission
  • Meritor 20,000-pound front axle
  • Meritor 40,000-pound rear axles

Pumping Features

  • Hale Q2-200 2,000-gpm pump
  • Fire Research Corporation pressure governor
  • 1,800-gallon UPF tank
  • 20-gallon Class A foam tank
  • 50-gallon Class B foam tank
  • Hale Foamlogix 5.0 system
  • Elkhart RF-controlled Vulcan monitor
  • Newton 10-inch dump on rear with directional chute
  • Two rear quick fill valves
  • Harrison 10,000-watt hydraulic generator

Other Features

  • Whelen LED warning and DOT lights
  • Federal Signal Q2 siren
  • Roto-Ray
  • Havis-Shield scene lights
  • Will-Burt 4,500-watt light tower
  • 2,100-gallon portable tank
  • Zico electric portable tank bracket

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