Truck a “Cadillac” for Iola fleet

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January 5, 2011 - 12:00 AM

The newest truck in the Iola Fire Department fleet offers some of the most up-to-date technology for fire suppression, Iola’s fire chief said.
Donald Leapheart said the department’s newest truck, a 2010 Pierce Velocity, was purchased with the future in mind and with an ever-present eye on safety.
The new truck also will be able to take advantage of Iola’s continually upgraded water distribution system which provides more water pressure to hydrants around the city, Leapheart said.
The 2010 Pierce can pump as much as 1,500 gallons per minute, or 20 percent more than any of the department’s older trucks are capable of pumping, Leapheart said.
That’s not to say the old trucks are inadequate, he stressed.
“But with new development, and new infrastructure, we will have some fire hydrants that can provide more water, if our trucks can handle them.”
The new Pierce can easily, he said.
The truck was purchased over the summer from Pierce Conrad of Kansas City, Mo., for $445,000. The price came in about $20,000 less than expected because the department purchased a demo model.
“This truck had about 7,000 miles on it because they would take it across the country to trade shows or for vendors to see,” Leapheart said. “If we had one built like this today, it would probably cost about $50,000 or $60,000 more.

THE TRUCK — dubbed Engine 311 — replaces a 1976 Pierce pumper that was donated to the Allen County Volunteer Fire Department. The new truck will be dispatched along with IFD’s 1997 ladder truck, Engine 319, to most local fires in Iola’s city limits. The department’s other truck, Engine 310, a 1980 Pierce model, is now a backup unit.
Most fire trucks are used on the proverbial front lines for about 20 years before they must be replaced, Leapheart explained.

THE NEW PIERCE has the latest in safety equipment to ensure the safety of firefighters and the general public.
The truck comes equipped with a special tank of foam to mix with the water to make it more suitable to extinguish some fires.
“With this type of foam, we can really knock down some fires more quickly,” Leapheart said. In addition, the truck comes with a self-contained generator to provide electrical power for lights, fans and other safety equipment. A portable generator is necessary with the other trucks, “or we’d have to ask a neighbor to run an extension cord,” Leapheart said.
And that doesn’t account for the lights. The truck is covered from stem to stern with assorted strobes and LED light displays, “ones that don’t use as much energy, but emit more light,” Leapheart said. “It can really make a difference at a fire scene.”
The truck is powered by a DD-13 500 horsepower Detroit diesel engine, the latest model made available by Pierce, Leapheart said. The truck also features a state-of-the-art braking system, with rollover protection mechanisms, and a special exhaust system that better contains heat and pollutants while firefighters are at a fire scene.
“With our old trucks, you can see the soot coming out of the exhaust,” Leapheart said.

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