The Ramsey (IN) Volunteer Fire Department covers 113 square miles of fire district through four fire stations, each housing an engine, tanker, and brush truck and staffed by 34 volunteer firefighters. The department, which has a total of 19 apparatus in its fleet from different brands, needed to replace a 1972 Ford pumper and chose Ferrara Fire Apparatus to design and build the engine.
Chris Woertz, Ramsey’s chief, says that the department had purchased vehicles from Ferrara in the past, notably a pumper and a rescue truck. “We went to a neighboring department that had recently bought a Ferrara pumper and were impressed with the vehicle,” Woertz says. “We loosely based our specs on the types of features on that pumper and got bids. Ferrara won the contract.”
Lonnie Leake, the Mid America Fire & Safety salesman who made the sale to Ramsey, says the department was specifically looking for a custom engine. “This is the first custom pumper that the department has bought,” Leake points out. “The previous new pumper it bought from Ferrara was on a 2005 commercial chassis and cab.”
Leake says that the new pumper is on a Cinder cab and chassis with an eight-inch raised roof and seating for six firefighters and is built with an extruded aluminum body. The engine carries a side-mount Hale Qmax 1,500-gpm pump, a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 20-gallon foam cell, and a Foam Pro 1600 foam system.
Woertz notes that the department’s truck committee, “liked the fact that Ferrara builds its pumpers with a heavier extruded aluminum frame. Also, we have dealt with Mid America Fire & Safety for 12 years, and their facility is relatively close to us, so we get fast, efficient service from them.”
Woertz adds that the 5-inch front suction on the pumper “is new to us, so we had to train on techniques for using it, and the pumper also has an auto air primer, which we’ve not used in the past.” He notes that once the pumper went in service in February after its equipment was mounted, “we did pumping and operations drills for four to five hours a day to get our firefighters used to the vehicle. We found that the pumper is very easy to pump and is very user-friendly.”
The new Ferrara pumper has two 1¾-inch crosslays above the pump house, an 1¾-inch front bumper hose line, a 2½-inch preconnected discharge in the hosebed, and caries 1,000 feet of 5-inch LDH, and 600-feet of 2½-inch hose in the hose bed. A 24-foot two-section extension ladder, a 14-foot roof ladder, and a 10-foot attic ladder are enclosed in a through-the-tank compartment. The rig has Ferrara’s F-Shield chassis corrosion protection on the frame and on some of the body elements in place of diamond plate. Additionally, it has a Federal Q2B mechanical siren, and a Whelen electronic siren.
Woertz notes that the first weekend that the new Ferrara pumper was in service, it responded to six fire calls. “There were a couple of fire alarms, MVAs, and support for brush fires,” he says. “Our firefighters were happy with the way the engine handled and how easy it is to use. We also are running a Holmatro CORE Technology hydraulic spreader and a cutter on the pumper and plan on adding Holmatro battery-operated hydraulic tools to it later this year.”
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.