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Special Delivery: Bakersfield Fire Department Chooses Multipurpose KME Custom Pumper

Alan M. Petrillo

The Bakersfield (CA) Fire Department covers a wide swath of territory within the Bakersfield, California, city limits-144 square miles with a population of more than 347,000 people-with 180 firefighters working 14 pumpers, three ladder trucks, and a variety of other apparatus out of 14 stations. So, fleet uniformity is an important consideration to Bakersfield’s officers and firefighters when specing out new apparatus.

Early in 2012, the department pulled out its pumper specifications and sought input from a number of sources-firefighters, mechanics, and officers-about the good and not-so-good working features of its current apparatus to prepare for a new engine purchase.

Ross Kelly, Bakersfield’s deputy chief, says uniformity with the department’s existing fleet of pumpers was a concern voiced often. “We took ideas from the pumpers currently in our fleet and looked to improve on some things that weren’t working well but still stay in a configuration that we are used to dealing with,” Kelly said. “We wanted to keep the body and setup of the equipment on the new pumper as uniform as we could compared with the other pumpers in our fleet.”

The KME Severe Service pumper it chose has a Waterous 1,500-gpm pump, 750-gallon water tank, and 20-gallon foam cell.
(1) Uniformity with its other fleet pumpers was a chief concern at the Bakersfield (CA) Fire Department. The KME Severe Service pumper it chose has a Waterous 1,500-gpm pump, 750-gallon water tank, and 20-gallon foam cell. It also features a six-person XMFD cab extended to 59½ inches long to give the crew more space for both structural and wildland firefighting gear. (Photos courtesy of KME.)

Kelly says the department also considered the geography of the coverage area of the station where the new apparatus would be housed in choosing its new pumper. “The station where it was going is mostly hilly in the first-in response areas, so we were looking at strong braking power as well as the angles of approach and departure on the new vehicle,” he points out.

Kelly says the input received from department members was included in the specs, which they sent out for bid. Five fire apparatus manufacturers responded to the department’s request for bids, and the department chose KME to build the new pumper.

“The finished pumper has some things in different places than our other pumpers, but there was no compromising the basic setup, so it’s very similar to our other apparatus,” Kelly points out.

The new pumper's hosebed
(2) The new pumper’s hosebed carries 1,700 feet of 2½-inch hose, 600 feet of four-inch LDH, and 300 feet of 1¾-inch hose, all under a hard top cover.

Standard Design

Dean Carriger, the KME salesman who submitted the winning bid, says the Bakersfield pumper is built on a Severe Service chassis, a model KME developed about eight years ago for the Los Angeles County (CA) Fire Department. “The Severe Service line became so popular that it’s our premier seller on the West Coast,” Carriger says. “It’s noted for its durability, unobstructed vision, and having the biggest air-conditioning system available in the fire service. It’s all aluminum, including the cab and frame rails, so the design makes for a minimum amount of maintenance.”

The XMFD cab that Bakersfield chose is extended to 59½ inches, which Carriger notes “gives the firefighters in the crew cab section more room for their turnout and wildland firefighting gear.”

Carriger adds that the size of the pump, water tank, and the vehicle configuration were very similar to what the Bakersfield Fire Department has purchased during the past ten years. “There’s a lot of standardization going on there,” he says, “making this a very functional vehicle.”

The extended front bumper of the pumper carries 100 feet of preconnected hose
(3) The extended front bumper of the pumper carries 100 feet of preconnected 1¾-inch hose and also has a five-inch suction intake.

More than an Engine

While the new vehicle is classified as a pumper that carries six firefighters, Kelly notes that it also carries “a substantial amount of rescue equipment-Holmatro rescue tools, air bags, cribbing, a sawzall, and multiple rescue ropes-all mounted within compartments.”

The pumper has six-inch suction intakes on the driver’s and officer’s sides, as well as a five-inch suction in the extended front bumper, which also carries 100 feet of preconnected 1¾-inch hose. Crosslays are two 200-foot preconnected 1¾-inch lines and two 200-foot preconnected 2½-inch lines. The pump is a Waterous CMU-C20 1,500-gpm model, the water tank holds 750 gallons, and a 20-gallon foam cell is accessed through a FoamPro 2001 foam system.

Kelly points out the pumper’s hosebed carries 1,700 feet of 2½-inch hose, 600 feet of four-inch large-diameter hose (LDH), and 300 feet of 1¾-inch hose.

“We put an Akron Apollo 1,250-gallon-per-minute (gpm) deck gun on the vehicle and two telescoping 750-watt LED scene lights, one on each side of the pumper at the rear of the cab,” he adds. “This is our first pumper with all LED lighting, which we chose to reduce the electrical draw. It’s a very hot climate here in summer, so any way that we can reduce the stress and strain on the engine is a good thing. Not only did we get a benefit on the lower electrical draw, but the LED lighting is much brighter.”

Kelly says the entire process of procuring the new pumper was a positive experience for the department. “We set out to take our established product, which had been produced by multiple manufacturers, and make a better pumper,” he says. “And, we were successful in doing that with the KME Severe Service. We placed the order in the spring of 2012, got the apparatus in the fall, and then outfitted it so it went in service in early January of this year.”

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based freelance writer and is 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.


KME Severe Service Pumper

• KME Severe Service chassis
• 96-inch-wide XMFD cab with flat roof
• 153-inch-long flatback body
• 30-foot, 9½-inch overall length
• Nine-foot, eight-inch overall height
• 181-inch wheelbase
• 20,000-pound front axle
• 27,000-pound rear axle
• Cummins 500-hp ISX 11.9 diesel engine
• Allison 400 EVS transmission
• Waterous CMU-C20 1,500-gpm two-stage pump
• 750-gallon water tank
• 20-gallon foam cell
• FoamPro 2001 foam system
• Two six-inch, one five-inch, and two 2½-inch intakes
• Six 2½-inch discharges
• Two 1¾-inch crosslays
• One three-inch deck gun discharge
• One 1½-inch front discharge
• Two booster reels
• Akron Apollo 1,250-gpm deck gun
• Dual Arm Zico ladder rack

Price without equipment: $486,000


Bakersfield (CA) Fire Department

Strength: 180 paid firefighters, 14 stations.

Service area: Provides fire suppression and rescue to approximately 144-square miles of the city of Bakersfield, located near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County. Population is 347,483 with a coverage area consisting of residential, commercial, and high-rise structures in a downtown district as well as two airports and multiple hospitals.

Other apparatus: Five 2000 Pierce Quantum pumpers, 1,500-gpm Waterous pumps, 750-gallon water tanks; four 1996 Quality/HME pumpers, 1,500-gpm Waterous pumps, 750-gallon water tanks; 1991 Quality/Spartan pumper, 1,500-Waterous pump, 750-gallon water tank; 1990 Quality/Spartan pumper, 1,500-Waterous pump, 1,500-gallon water tank; 1989 Quality/Spartan pumper, 1,500-Waterous pump, 750-gallon water tank; 1988 Pierce Arrow pumper, 1,500-gpm Waterous pump, 500-gallon water tank; four 1999 Westates/Freightliner Type III pumpers, 500-gpm Waterous pumps, 500-gallon water tanks; 2007, 2002, and 1999 Pierce Quantum tractor-drawn 100-foot aerial ladders; Ford F-550 and F-450 4WD patrol vehicles; 1999 SuperVac light/air unit; 1989 International hazmat unit; 2006 SuperVac urban search and rescue (USAR) unit; 2005 technical rescue trailer; 2006 emergency medical service trailer; 2003 decontamination trailer; two Chevrolet Suburban battalion command vehicles; five Ford SUV safety officer command vehicles.

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