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Department Overcomes Design Challenges for a Functional Rig with Plenty of Storage

Alan M. Petrillo

Good Intent Fire Company No. 1 is one of seven fire companies that make up the Pottsville (PA) Fire Department, and Good Intent is charged with serving as the department’s rapid intervention team (RIT) as well as supplying a first-due pumper for its coverage area in the city’s downtown business district.

The fire company’s response area is well supported by hydrants with an ample water supply but consists of some very tight streets and very steep hills, making the overall length and wheelbase of a new pumper considerations in its design. Good Intent also provides RIT services for several surrounding communities, so having seating for 10 firefighters and enough compartmentation to carry the specialized RIT equipment in an easily accessible configuration was a primary concern.

Three Good Intent firefighters, one of them a Pottsville assistant chief, work at KME and communicated the fire company’s needs to the manufacturer. Mark Higgins, contract specialist at KME and first lieutenant in Good Intent, says there were several reasons the fire company approached KME about building its pumper. “We chose KME because the factory is close to our fire company-about 50 minutes by road-three Good Intent firefighters work at KME, and we had a good opportunity to oversee the vehicle from inception to completion.”

The KME-built PRO pumper for the Good Intent Fire Company No. 1, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is powered by a Cummins 505-horsepower ISX 12 turbo-charged diesel engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission and is built on a 189-inch wheelbase with a 31-foot, eight-inch overall length, which allows the pumper access to tight city streets. (Photos courtesy of KME unless otherwise noted.)
1 The KME-built PRO pumper for the Good Intent Fire Company No. 1, Pottsville, Pennsylvania, is powered by a Cummins 505-horsepower ISX 12 turbo-charged diesel engine and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission and is built on a 189-inch wheelbase with a 31-foot, eight-inch overall length, which allows the pumper access to tight city streets. (Photos courtesy of KME unless otherwise noted.)

Equipment Storage Needs

Jason Witmier, KME’s product manager of aerials, also Pottsville Fire’s assistant chief, says, “Because we went into taking RIT calls, we had to move from our prior pumper with seating for six firefighters to seating for 10, along with carrying all the extra RIT equipment. We needed to have good operating space inside the cab yet still maintain a manageable wheelbase to function on some very tight streets. We came up with a 189-inch wheelbase, which was an inch shorter than our previous pumper.”

However, the new KME PRO pumper on a Predator XLFD chassis has a 22-inch raised roof and added 110 cubic feet more compartment space than the previous rig. “Our new PRO pumper has 29-inch-deep full-height and full-depth compartments plus four full-size coffin compartments on top,” Witmier says. “We were able to keep the ladders low in a tunnel under the 500-gallon United Plastic Fabricating water tank. The pump on the vehicle is a Waterous CXS 1,500-gallon-per-minute (gpm) pump, and there’s a 30-gallon foam tank integral with the water tank.”

Firefighting and Rescue

Witmier notes that the pumper typically runs in a city where there’s a fire hydrant on every block. “We didn’t need a bigger water tank,” he observes. “We can easily hook into a hydrant by the time we use up our 500 gallons of water.”

One of the ways KME was able to keep the wheelbase on the new pumper down to a manageable length was because of the PRO pump house, Witmier says. “Our previous pumper had a 52-inch-wide pump house,” he notes, “but on this pumper, we have a tighter pump house of 49 inches because there is an extension under the cab. Also, the water tank sits above the frame rails but only runs from the front of the body to the midpoint of the axle with a side-to-side ‘L’ to go over the top of the ladder tunnel.”

KME put a diagrammatic pump panel on the Good Intent pumper to control its Waterous CXS 1,500-gpm pump.
2 KME put a diagrammatic pump panel on the Good Intent pumper to control its Waterous CXS 1,500-gpm pump.

The rear of the KME PRO pumper has two speedlays and four preconnects, along with a cord reel and 1,500 feet of five-inch large-diameter hose (LDH).

Higgins points out that the new pumper carries only a limited number of rescue tools needed for RIT operations. “These are battery-operated tools that will work in low-oxygen situations,” he says. “We carry a Holmatro cutter, spreader, and ram, along with a reciprocating saw, air bags, and cribbing. We are first-call for RIT in the city of Pottsville and also on mutual-aid call for RIT for neighboring fire districts.”

On top of the pumper sits a Task Force Tips wireless remote control 1,250-gpm deck gun. The rig also carries a 500-gallon water tank and a 30-gallon integral Class A foam tank
3 On top of the pumper sits a Task Force Tips wireless remote control 1,250-gpm deck gun. The rig also carries a 500-gallon water tank and a 30-gallon integral Class A foam tank.

Good Intent’s previous pumper carried a 2,000-gpm deck gun, but Witmier says that wasn’t needed on the new vehicle. “With the old pumper, we could never get enough water to it to flow 2,000 gpm,” he says. “With our new pumper, we went to a 1,250-gpm Task Force Tips wireless remote deck gun with three-inch plumbing-which is plenty for our needs.”

Witmier also likes the Continental VDO 360-degree camera system on the pumper. “There are cameras on each side, the front, and the rear,” he says, “and through software programming, the images can be blended to look like a view from a drone flying above you, showing everything around the apparatus in real time. It’s a help when making tight turns; that allows you to see everything.”

4 Good Intent Fire Co. No. 1 serves as the RIT for the city of Pottsville (PA) Fire Department and also provides RIT mutual-aid services to surrounding communities
4 Good Intent Fire Co. No. 1 serves as the RIT for the city of Pottsville (PA) Fire Department and also provides RIT mutual-aid services to surrounding communities.

Design Challenges

Higgins notes that KME had to overcome some hurdles in the design of the pumper’s body to allow the vehicle to carry 500 gallons of water and 30 gallons of foam and have the space for full-depth and full-height compartments and the ladder tunnel. “The compartments impact the design of the water tank,” he says. “The Class A foam tank is integral with the water tank, but we also carry five-gallon totes of Class B foam in our coffin compartments. We have an off-board pickup to use when we need Class B foam. The totes are modular and can be stored where you want instead of needing an additional 30-gallon integral tank for Class B foam.”

5 The rear of the pumper features a ladder tunnel, Stokes basket storage, spare SCBA, two access ladders, four preconnects, two speedlays, and 1,500 feet of five-inch LDH
5 The rear of the pumper features a ladder tunnel, Stokes basket storage, spare SCBA, two access ladders, four preconnects, two speedlays, and 1,500 feet of five-inch LDH.

Witmier says that one of the main parts of the new pumper’s design was to keep the pump operator’s area clear of as much hose as possible, which is why the discharges ended up at the rear of the pumper. “That means the pump operator has a clean area to work in because the primary hose work area is off the rear of the vehicle,” he notes.

Higgins points out that the new pumper was used at a working fire two days after it was brought home to the fire company. “It performed very well for us,” he says. “The layout of the pump panel, which is diagrammatic, was very user-friendly, and the engineer found it comfortable to use.” Higgins adds, “Back then, we were looking forward to our first night call with the pumper because of all the illumination we have on it. Once we took it out at night,” he says, “the Will-Burt light tower and the FRC Spectra Max lights were great.”

6 The Good Intent RIT pumper was used at a working fire in Pottsville two days after it was put in service by the fire company. (Photo courtesy of the Good Intent Fire Co. No. 1
6 The Good Intent RIT pumper was used at a working fire in Pottsville two days after it was put in service by the fire company. (Photo courtesy of the Good Intent Fire Co. No. 1.)

ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist 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.


Department

Good Intent Fire Co. No. 1, Pottsville (PA) Fire Department

Strength: 20 volunteer firefighters, one station.

Service area: Provides fire protection, rescue, and RIT coverage to Pottsville, Pennsylvania, along with six other fire companies in the Pottsville Fire Department. Coverage area is five square miles, and the population is 16,000. The Pottsville Fire Department has 110 volunteer firefighters, including those of Good Intent Fire Co. No. 1.

Other apparatus: Good Intent also has a 1997 Ford Expedition 4×4 (Squad 13) used for traffic control, firefighter transport, inclement weather, and special assignments. The Pottsville Fire Department’s seven fire companies have six pumpers, two aerial ladders, one heavy rescue, one brush truck, three utility vehicles, two squads, and five miscellaneous vehicles, including the chief’s vehicle.


Specs

KME PRO Pumper

• PRO pumper with seating for 10 firefighters

• Predator XLFD chassis with 22-inch raised roof

• 162-inch 3⁄16-inch aluminum body

• 22,500-pound front axle

• 27,000-pound rear axle

• 189-inch wheelbase

• 31-foot, eight-inch overall length

• 10-foot, four-inch overall height

• Cummins 505-hp ISX 12 diesel turbo-charged engine

• Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission

• Waterous CXS 1,500-gpm pump

• 500-gallon United Plastic Fabricating (UPF) water tank

• 30-gallon integral Class A foam tank

• Waterous Advantus 6 foam system piped to all preconnects

• Diagrammic-design pump panel

• Task Force Tips wireless remote control 1,250-gpm deck gun

• Four 1¾-inch hose rear preconnects

• Two 1¾-inch hose crosslays

• 1,500 feet of five-inch LDH in hosebed

• Will-Burt vertical mast tower with six Fire Research Corp. (FRC) Spectra Max LED spot/flood light fixtures generating 28,000 lumens of light

• Two FRC Spectra 9000 LED scene lights, one each side of cab

• Six FRC Spectra Max LED Q20 surface-mounted 12-volt scene lights at sides and rear of apparatus body

• Code 3 warning light package and lightbar

• HiViz LED FireTech 12-volt brow scene light

• Onan GenSet PTO/hydraulic 15-kW generator

• Akron Brass Company 240-volt, 200-foot electric cord reel

• KME-manufactured dual rear access ladders

• Four coffin compartments on top of vehicle

• Continental VDO 360-degree camera system

Price without equipment: $675,000

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