The Pleasanton (TX) Fire Department has a 25-year full life replacement cycle for its fire apparatus, so the chief knew it was time to replace one pumper and a heavy rescue unit. The department’s fleet has been all KME apparatus since the early 1990s, so Pleasanton decided to continue with its successful run and have KME build its new pumper and heavy rescue.
“We wanted to upgrade to a heavy rescue from a light rescue unit,” says Pleasanton Chief Chuck Garris. “We needed to carry more equipment on the rescue, and as for the pumper, we wanted one with a smaller wheelbase to help us get into areas that were kind of difficult for the top-mount pumper we were replacing. That’s why we went with a rear-mount pumper that had less of a wheelbase but still gave us more compartment space.”
Scott Young of Alamo Fire Apparatus LLC, who sold the two vehicles to Pleasanton, says the physical profiles of the two rigs are nearly identical. Each is on a KME Predator Panther chassis and cab with seating for six firefighters, with an EMS lockable cabinet with chargeable outlets on the rear crew cab wall. “These are a matched pair, where the controls for the driver are similar in each cab, so the learning curve for personnel doing daily maintenance checks is identical,” Young says. “There’s an access door in the cabin to allow access to all fluids without lifting the cab, which is now a standard feature in KME cabs.”
The rear-mount pumper has a Hale RSD 1,250-gpm pump, a 980-gallon water tank, a 20-gallon foam tank, and a Pneumax CAFS with a 200-cfm compressor that also can be configured to inflate the department’s air bags, inflatable boats, hazmat tools, and run its air tools. The pumper carries 1,200 feet of 5 inch LDH in the hosebed, one 2½-inch hose line and one 1¾-inch hoseline coming out of the hosebed, and two 1¾-inch full width cross lays in the extended front bumper.
Both the pumper and the heavy rescue have Command Light towers with four Whelen Pioneer LED light heads running 12-volt DC power, along with Whelen Pioneer LED scene lights, and Whelen LED brow lights. The heavy rescue’s Command Light tower and other electrical equipment is powered by a Harrison MCR PTO driven 10-kW generator, and the rig has a Mako MCFS-1 fill station and a three-bottle 6,000-psi cascade air system. The cascade air bottles are located under the rescue’s rear stairway on top of the frame rail.
Each of the vehicles is powered by a 450-hp Cummins L9 diesel engine, and an Allison 3000 EVS transmission, has ROM roll-up doors, H.O. Bostrom seating, Firecom 5100-D wired headsets, Whelen LED emergency lighting, and Whelen electronic sirens and speakers.
Garris says that the Pleasanton Fire Department covers 186 square miles including the city of Pleasanton and a great deal of Atascosa county south of San Antonio. “We’re a combination department with four paid firefighters and 25 volunteers,” he says. “We have a new fire station with sleeping quarters for the paid firefighters and those volunteers who want to pull overnight shifts and two other stations manned by volunteer firefighters.”
He notes that a railroad runs through town, one volunteer station is on each side of the tracks, housing an engine at each station. The department plans to keep its light rescue in service and also has a 75-foot aerial ladder quint, a 3,500-gallon water tender (tanker), and five brush trucks. “When the oil fields started pumping in the area we grew pretty quickly and got several three-story hotels and three-story apartment buildings, which is why we got our aerial ladder,” Garris points out.
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.