Fire Department welcomes new state-of-the-art truck

Article by Dennis Nartker of KPC Media

KENDALLVILLE — It’s state of the art with all the bells and whistles — well, three sirens and two horns.

That’s one way to describe the Kendallville Fire Department’s new Pierce PUC (Pierce Ultimate Configuration) fire truck that replaces a 1987 engine and a rescue truck.

The Fire Department took possession of the truck last month, and it entered service Monday after equipment was installed and drivers and firefighters received training.

“Purchasing this type of truck saves the city thousands of dollars, because it replaces two trucks,” said Fire Chief Mike Riehm. “It also frees up a firefighter to fight fires who otherwise would have to drive the second truck.”

The fire truck was built to Fire Department specifications at Pierce Manufacturing Inc. in Appleton, Wisconsin. The rear suspension is a Hendrickson Firemax built at the Hendrickson plant in Kendallville’s East Industrial Park.

Pierce markets the PUC as: “Easier to use. Easier to stay safer. Easier to store equipment. Easier to service. Easier to maneuver.”

The truck is self-contained, with a six-man cab and a 1,000-gallon water tank. It is capable of pumping 1,500 gallons of water a minute.

All the equipment is stored in compartments with sliding doors, including hoses, ladders and nozzles. On the older trucks, hoses and ladders are stored on the vehicles’ exteriors. “The weather and sun can cause the hoses to deteriorate,” Riehm said.

The new truck’s hoses are stored in two compartments on the sides of the vehicle and in a compartment on top with automated doors that open and close with the push of a button. No equipment is visible on the truck’s exterior.

The approximately 58,000-pound truck has mounted sideview and rearview video cameras and monitors in the cab the driver can use when maneuvering the vehicle. All the lights are LEDs. The diesel engine has a 50-gallon fuel tank.

The $640,000 truck meets all required federal and state regulations, according to Riehm.

Having up-to-date vehicles and equipment helps Kendallville maintain a favorable ISO fire rating, the fire chief said. Insurance Services Office Inc. evaluates fire departments around the country. Based on the evaluation, it assigns a rating between 1 and 10, with a 1 being the best.

The rating reflects the overall effectiveness of the Fire Department and helps determine the fire insurance premiums for property owners in the Fire Department’s district, Riehm said.