The Elkhart (IN) Fire Department covers the 32-square mile city of Elkhart with 140 paid firefighters working out of seven stations, and running six engines, one quint, one aerial platform, and three ambulances as front-line apparatus. When Elkhart saw the need to replace its aerial platform, the department turned to its long-time supplier, Sutphen Corp. to build the new rig.
Andy Herb, president of Herb Fire Equipment, who sold the aerial platform to Elkhart, says the department had some specific requirements for its truck. “The ladder complement was important to them, and how they were customized on the truck,” Herb points out. “Another big thing was they wanted a stainless-steel body on the rig because that vehicle would be expected to have a longer service life than a pumper. They also wanted a flat roof to increase the working angle of the aerial over the cab, and the shortest cab that we make to keep the wheelbase as short as possible.”
Nick Hintz, Elkhart lieutenant and member of the apparatus committee, says the SPH 100 aerial platform Sutphen built for Elkhart has a 230-inch wheelbase, a 46 foot 1 inch overall length, and an 11 foot 6 inches overall height. The rig is on a Sutphen Monarch heavy duty chassis with a 56-inch extended cab and flat roof with seating for four firefighters, powered by a 600-horsepower (hp) Cummins X15 diesel engine, and an Allison Gen 5 4000 EVS automatic transmission.
Hintz notes that the SPH 100 platform has a Waterous CSU 1,500-gallons per minute (gpm) single stage pump, but no water tank. “We eliminated the water tank in order to carry more ground ladders,” Hintz says. “We were able to get 246 feet of ground ladders on the SPH 100 including two 20-foot straight ladders, two 15-foot straight ladders, two 24-foot two-section extension ladders, one 28-foot extension ladder, one 35-foot extension ladder, one 12-foot roof ladder, a 16-foot roof ladder on the side of the aerial, two 10-foot folding ladders on the aerial, and a 17-foot Little Giant ladder.”
Hintz adds that the rear wall inside the crew cab has a custom shelf where hooks and irons are mounted, and that one of the full depth curb side compartments is set up to carry 28 spare self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) bottles in a custom rack that’s seven bottles wide by four rows deep.
Herb says the Elkhart SPH 100’s platform has an Elkhart Brass Cobra EXM 1,250-gpm remote control monitor on the driver’s side, and an Elkhart Brass Vulcan 1,250-gpm manual monitor with an Elkhart Brass 282A straightener nozzle and ST-194 stacked tops on the officer’s side. The SPH 100 also has a Smart Power 10-kilowatt generator, a grill-mounted Federal Q2B siren, a Hannay electric cord reel with 175 feet of electrical cord, a FRC ACT two-station intercom system, Whelen 600 Super LED warning lights, Whelen M9 LED scene lights, a FRC Spectra LED brow light, and two FRC Spectra 140-volt LED Telelights.
Zach Rudy, Sutphen’s director of sales, says that Elkhart Fire Department has purchased a half dozen Sutphen vehicles — a 2008 pumper, 2014 pumper, 2016 75-foot rear mount aerial quint, a 2018 pumper, the SPH 100 aerial platform, and a 2021 heavy rescue currently in production.
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Ariz.-based journalist, the author of three novels and five non-fiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including the position of chief.