“We got two trucks in one,” said CJFD Chief Don Hutchison. “And for only $10,000 more.”
Hutchison said the district’s budget called for the replacement of its 1996 pumper, which will now be sold. When he was looking for a replacement, he ran across the demo model at the KME company in Nesquehoning, Pa. It had only 7,000 miles on it and offered a dual purpose truck that will provide for a ladder truck at both of the district’s stations.
“Our other ladder truck, at station one, is 20 years old,” Hutchison said. “This ladder will take the work load off the older one and we could get another five years from it.”
The new truck carries five firefighters and has a ladder that extends 75 feet. On the end is a moveable spray nozzle that can extend for fighting fires, or can be concealed for rescue operations. Hutchison said it can pump 1,500 gallons per minute and carries a 500 gallon on-board water supply.
Other features include the new LED spotlights. Former fire truck spot lights ran off separate generators, but the new technology allows a brighter light that runs off a standard 12-volt battery.
The new vehicle is state of the art and carries more than 1,000 feet of hose to connect to a hydrant. It can then feed four hand lines that are used by firefighters to attack building fires. Hutchison said it would have been great to have it during the Do-Cut fire, Sept. 14.
“It was a week too late,” he said. “But thanks to mutual aid, we were able to handle the fire.”
As for maneuvering, the new KME can be backed into a residential driveway for either firefighting or for roof rescues. According to firefighter Scott Shaffer, it drives nicely too.
“It drives better than Engine 2,” he said. “It has a much better turning radius.”
The cost of the new vehicle was $525,000, which was $10,000 over the budgeted amount the fire board set last year. That price was only for a pumper truck, but when the board learned about the KME, they approved the purchase.
Hutchison said the insurance board notified him that a second or backup ladder truck would help stabilize home insurance costs and could even bring them down a little.
Since the truck was a demo, all that needed done before it was brought to Canfield was the new signage. Besides the usual district signs and logos, there was one final touch. Below the side windows are written the words, “In Memory of Chief Robert J. Tieche.”
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Cardinal Joint Fire District firefighter Scott Shaffer extends the bracing on the district’s newest addition to the fleet as fellow firefighter Brian Charles observes.