The Hazleton (PA) Fire Department had a lot of experience with KME products as its fleet contains two KME engines, a KME aerial ladder, and a KME aerial platform. So when it came time to purchase a rescue-pumper, Hazleton again turned to KME.
Donald Leshko, Hazleton’s chief, says that the KME rigs “have been very solid and dependable for us. The KME manufacturing plant is about 25 minutes away from us, and has provided us great service, so we decided to go with KME for our new rescue-pumper.”
Leshko notes that Hazleton is a combination department with 21 paid firefighting personnel that include his position and two deputy chiefs and 60 active volunteer firefighters in five companies operating out of three stations. “Our department covers six square miles and a population of 25,300,” he says, “with about 75 percent of the area being densely populated residential, 20 percent commercial, and the rest open space. We have a seven-story healthcare facility hospital in our district and about 20 buildings four stories or higher, including an old silk mill that’s now a mixed occupancy.”
Jason Hartz, KME factory direct salesman, says Hazleton wanted to standardize its fleet, especially with the cab design, so it chose KME’s 100-inch-wide Predator™ chassis and 100-inch wide Panther MFD (medium four-door) cab with a 10-inch Vista raised roof. “The rescue-pumper has seating for four firefighters,” Hartz says, “and the department was looking for more storage, so we put in compartments instead of rear-facing seats, which are accessible by the driver and officer for their turnout gear and other equipment.”
Hartz notes that many of Hazleton’s streets are tight, “so they wanted as short a vehicle travel length as possible for all the equipment they wanted to carry.” The rescue-pumper has a 201-inch wheelbase, overall length 39 feet 2 inches, and an overall height of 9 feet.
Ryan Slane, KME product manager, says KME put a Challenger WB (wide bed) body 162 inches long on the vehicle to accommodate the side-to-side hosebed that Hazleton wanted. “We were able to give them 29-inch-deep full height and depth compartments on the driver’s side and the same size compartments except a 14-inch-deep split-depth compartment on the officer’s side where the ground ladders are in the water tank’s tunnel,” Slane says. The ladder tunnel holds a 24-foot two-section extension ladder, a 14-foot roof ladder, attic ladder, two hard suction hoses, and a long backboard.
The rescue-pumper is powered by a Cummins 450-horsepower ISL 9 diesel engine, and an Allison 3000 EVS automatic transmission and has a Hale QMax-200 single-stage 2,000-gpm pump, a 750-gallon water tank, two 1¾-inch crosslays, one 2½-inch crosslay, two 2½-inch hosebed discharges, and a 2½-inch discharge to a gated wye in the 21-inch extended front bumper. The front bumper also has a 6-inch front suction intake with an inline valve and a Hurst hydraulic tool quick connection.
Leshko says the rig has 6-inch and 2½-inch intakes on the driver’s side and a 6-inch intake and 4-inch and 3-inch LDH discharges on the officer’s side of the pump panel. “All the valves are manual Akron Brass valves,” he points out. “We wanted to be sure our valves were foolproof; we didn’t want anything to stop us from getting a valve open.”
At the back of the truck, Hazleton uses the rear compartment to house its Hurst hydraulic rescue tools that include a spreader, cutter, combi tool, and rams as well as two Streamline hydraulic hose reels with 100 feet of hose each. The rescue-pumper’s hosebed is set up to carry 2,000 feet of 4-inch LDH, 200 feet of preconnected 2½-inch hose with a Task Force Tips Blitzfire nozzle on the driver’s side, 200-feet of 2½-inch hose with a play pipe nozzle on the officer’s side, and dead loads of 3-inch, 2½-inch, and 1¾-inch hose. The rig also carries a high-rise pack filled with 1¾-inch hose in a side compartment.
“This vehicle is built like a big tool box,” Leshko points out. “It’s a world of difference compared with our prior rescue-pumper where we didn’t have room for everything and had to carry some equipment on other apparatus. KME really listened to us and was able to put all the equipment on one vehicle, so we’re very impressed with them.”
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.