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New Hillsborough (NJ) Volunteer Fire Company No. 1 Pumper Boasts Low Hosebed

By Alan M. Petrillo

The Hillsborough (NJ) Volunteer Fire Company No. 1, one of three fire districts in the New Jersey township of Hillsborough, popped up on the town’s apparatus replacement schedule, which meant a new pumper for the fire company that covers all of the city of Flagtown and bordering areas out of a single station.

But a year and a half into the spec process, the fire company scrapped its original pumper design and went back to the drawing board, assisted by KME and Jim Philips, salesman for First Priority Emergency Vehicles. “Once they got on board, the project took off like wildfire,” says Hillsborough’s chief, Dave Foelsch. “Our prime protection area is rural with a lot of back-country roads, so we wanted to have a pumper with a short wheelbase, at least no longer than our quint, which fits everywhere in our district.”

Foelsch notes that because the other two fire companies in the township have rescue trucks, his department would not be getting one, “so we also had to set this pumper up to carry rescue equipment. Plus, we wanted to plan the engine for use not only now, but for 25 years from now.” Foelsch adds that he also was concerned about the ability to get the maximum gallonage out of the pumper in case it is the only one that shows up at a fire scene.

“We have a lot of residential condominium complexes in our district that are laid out like mazes with narrow streets, and most complexes don’t have sprinklers,” he says. “We wanted all the discharges on our new pumper to come off the front and rear of the vehicle so we wouldn’t close down any narrow roadways with our hoselines.”

Phillips says the end result for Hillsborough “is an engine that carries rescue equipment on it—a spreader, cutter and rams. This is a very custom rig because they wanted a large hosebed capacity, a low hosebed height, and a six-person cab.”

The custom pumper is built on a 100-inch-wide KME Predator™ LXFD chassis and cab with a 22-inch raised roof, all 3/16-inch Flex aluminum construction, with black Line-X interior cab trim, grey Line-X floor trim, Line-X in all compartments, and USSC Valor seats.

Ryan Slane, pumper product manager for KME, says KME got Hillsborough the low hosebed of 64 inches from its floor to the ground by using a 750-gallon L-shaped water tank, which allowed full-height and full-depth compartments on both sides of the rig. Overall length of the pumper is 35 feet 10½ inches, overall height is 10 feet 7½ inches, and wheelbase is 226 inches. The vehicle is powered by a Cummins 500-hp ISX 12 engine, and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission.

Slane notes that the 27-inch black Line-X painted steel extended front bumper holds three hose wells with discharges, a 6-inch front suction, two air horns, and a semirecessed Federal Signal Q2B mechanical siren. “We were able to give them an 11-degree angle of approach, even with the large front bumper,” Slane observes. The pumper has a Hale QMax-225 2,250-gpm single-stage pump, a 750-gallon UPF Poly water tank with a 30-gallon integral foam cell, and a FoamPro 2002 foam system. Price on the pumper was $712,807.

Foelsch says the front bumper carries 300 feet of 2½-inch hoseline tipped with a master stream appliance, and two 1¾-inch hoselines of 250 feet each. “With the setbacks on some of our condos, we need 300 feet to get where we need to go,” he points out. “On the back of the pumper, we have 300 feet of preconnected 1¾-inch hose, 300 feet of 2½-inch, and 300 feet of 3-inch. Plus, we carry 1,000 feet of 5-inch LDH in the hosebed.”

The volunteer fire company has 65 firefighters on its rolls, 35 of whom the chief classifies as active. Its other apparatus includes a 2007 Seagrave quint with a 1,500-gpm pump, 350-gallon water tank, two 20-gallon Class A foam tanks, and a CAFS; a 2003 Seagrave/Kenworth tanker with a 1,500-gpm pump, a 3,200-gallon water tank, and a 3,000-gallon portable water tank; a 2015 Ford F-450 brush truck with a First Attack skid unit and 200-gallon water tank; a 1972 AM General (ex-US Army) 2½-ton brush truck with a skid unit and 200-gallon water tank; a 2013 Polaris Ranger 6×6 UTV with a Darley pump powered by a 5.5-hp Honda engine, a 95-gallon water tank, and a 5-gallon foam tank; a Mercury ERB Model 380 emergency response boat; and two Chevy Suburban chief vehicles.

Foelsch notes that “KME was extremely understanding of our wants and needs, and the craftsmanship on the pumper is great. They did everything we wanted, and we never heard from them ‘we can’t do that.’ They built the pumper of our dreams.”

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.

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2 comments

  1. What’s the big deal with a low hosebed? My department, along with countless others including FDNY have been doing this for years. This article makes it seem as if there so many “new” ideas when they have been in use for so many years already. Also, just my opinion, they should have stuck with Seagrave. Safest cab on the market!

  2. A. J. Pantel. So. Fallsburg N. Y. FD

    This was an excellent overview of how to ensure that the fire district taxpayers get the best bang for their buck. By following the recommended practices buyer’s remorse should be avoided. I particularly liked the idea of requiring a detailed table of contents to facilitate easy comparison of one bid against the other.

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