Ferrara Inferno 85-Root Midmount Platform
Fall River (MA) Fire Department wanted to replace a 14-year old, 81-foot midmount aerial platform and needed a truck with a narrow body, the shortest wheelbase possible, and the smallest amount of tail swing. After bidding out the specs to a number of fire apparatus manufacturers, Fall River chose Ferrara Fire Apparatus to build an HD-85 midmount aerial platform.
Bill Middlemiss of Specialty Vehicles Inc., who sold the aerial platform to Fall River, says the department’s specific needs on length, width, and tail swing were because of the fact that Fall River is an old industrial city, with a lot of narrow streets and some sharp inclines. “We had built engines for them on very short wheelbases and narrow bodies to meet their particular needs,” Middlemiss says, “and we did the same for them with the midmount aerial platform. We nested the platform as deep and close to the body as possible, giving the truck only 100 inches of tail swing. Also, the turntable is set very close to the cab in order to bring down the truck’s overall length, and the cab is angled at the back portion to give greater access for the aerial.”
John Lynch, Fall River’s chief, notes that the city’s topography dictated the size of the aerial platform the department could use. “An aerial platform is a very heavy and long truck,” he observes. “Fall River has some pretty tight streets where a 100-footer would have difficulty getting into some areas.” Lynch notes that Fall River also has two 100-foot tractor-drawn aerials (TDAs) in its fleet, one of which is scheduled for replacement by a 100-foot TDA currently being built for the department by Ferrara.
Fall River was incorporated as a city in 1803, Lynch points out, and the city has a heavy industrial and commercial presence, with many of the structures made out of wood. The department has 190 paid firefighters operating out of six stations with apparatus that includes six engines, three aerials, and one heavy rescue truck, plus reserve apparatus.
The new HD-85 midmount platform is built on an Inferno chassis, powered by a 550-horsepower Cummins ISX15 engine, and an Allison 4000 EVS automatic transmission. The five-section steel aerial has an 87-foot vertical reach at 72 degrees, an 86-foot horizontal reach at zero degrees, and a 51-foot vertical and 74-foot horizontal reach at 30 degrees. Tip load is 1,000 pounds dry, 500 pounds flowing 1,500 gpm or 1,000 pounds flowing 1,000 gpm.
The midmount aerial’s platform has two outward-opening bifold gates with 23½-inch clear openings and 20 square feet of interior working area. The aerial has a five-inch waterway to the platform’s remote controlled all-electric Akron Brass 3578 StreamMaster II monitor that flows 1,500 gpm. The StreamMaster II can be positioned 45 degrees above to 45 degrees below horizontal and can swing 90 degrees side-to-side for 180 degrees horizontal sweep.
Paul Christiansen, Ferrara’s aerial sales manager, says the midmount aerial platform has an 18-foot side-to-side jack spread and a jack spread of 21-feet front-to-rear using four H-style jacks. “With the wide front-to-rear jack spread and having the front jacks set immediately behind the cab, it enables the aerial to operate directly over the cab or off the back of the body without the truck rocking back and forth,” Christiansen points out. “This truck can be short jacked as tight as 13 feet 3 inches, and the department chose to have extra ground penetration on all four jacks that allow for eight inches of extra jack stroke so they are able to level up to a 10 degree hill.”
Christiansen notes that the midmount aerial platform carries its ground ladders in a ladder tunnel, including a three-section 45-foot extension ladder, a two-section 35-footer, a two-section 28-footer, a two-section 20-foot extension ladder, 18-foot and 16-foot roof ladders, and a 10-foot attic ladder. The rig also carries a narrow 16-foot roof ladder on the fly closest to the platform, as well as a Little Giant ladder in the body.
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.