Innovative Rigs on the Street: Paxtang’s Short Wheelbase Pumper

The Paxtang Fire Company operates as Company 40 in the Dauphin County, PA, fire service and is under the command of Chief Todd Zwigart. The fire company annually responds to more than 400 alarms in the borough of Paxtang as well as neighboring departments...


The fire pump is a Hale QMax single stage rated at 1500 gpm with all stainless steel piping. Each of the side inlets are provided with externally mounted piston intake valves, which allow 5-inch preconnected suction lines. Discharges include one 2-inch front trash line and four 2-inch crosslay, each carrying 200 feet of 1.75 hose. The crosslay discharges are extended to the outside of each bed, which permits rapid extension of these lines when required. Two 2.5-inch discharges are provided at the left-side panel with one 2.5-inch and one 4-inch LDH discharge on the right side.

Four 2.5-inch rear hose body discharges are provided, which supply a 300-foot, 3-inch line equipped with a Task Force Blitz Fire gun, 200 feet of 2.5-inch attack line with a smooth bore nozzle, a 300-foot 2-inch attack line and a 200-foot 2.5-inch attack line. Other hose carried includes 1,200 feet of 5-inch supply line and 300 feet of spare 3-inch hose for use as a leader line. A top-mounted deck gun is supplied by a 3-inch discharge with a portable Task Force Crossfire monitor carried in the rear body compartment.

The aluminum body is 140 inches long and has six enclosed body compartments with full depth compartments provided on the left side of the body. The forward body compartment is reverse hinged to permit ready access to tool and appliances for the operator. Two upper body compartments, each approximately 58 inches long and 21 inches wide, provide additional storage space. The L-shaped 500-gallon water tank provides a low rear hose bed with a 50-gallon Class B foam cell.

A Harrison 8Kw hydraulic generator supplies power to four Fire Research Focus 500-watt lights mounted on the cab and body and one Hannay electric cable reel. Whelen model PSTANK LED lights are provided on each side of the cab to monitor water tank levels.

The warning-light package consists of a three roof-mounted Whelen Freedom LED light bars on the cab roof with two Mars lights and a roto ray light mounted on the front of the cab. Whelen 600 Super LED lights are located around the apparatus with Whelen LED beacon lights mounted at the rear body corners.

Ground ladders are mounted above the lower body compartments on the right side. They consist of a two section 24-foot extension ladder, 14-foot roof ladder, and 10-foot folding ladder with a 10-foot pike pole. Two lengths of 10-foot hard sleeve are carried above the ground ladders with standpipe packs mounted in an aluminum tread plate box below the ladders.

The Paxtang Fire Company had to wait some 30 years to replace their venerable Mack CF pumper, however, the result was a very well designed and equipped Pierce Arrow XT pumper. While the Mack provided many years of reliable service, the new Engine 40 is outfitted with nine preconnected attack lines together with three master stream appliances, which allows the apparatus to make a good accounting of itself on the fireground.

Appreciation is extended to Fire Chief Todd Zwigart and Cyle Sheaffer, who provided information for this article.

TOM SHAND is a 37-year veteran of the fire service having served with departments in Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York. He has worked in the fire apparatus industry since 1985, including 15 years with Saulsbury Fire Apparatus. He is a contributing editor to Fire Apparatus Journal and Firehouse Magazine and works with Mike Wilbur at Emergency Vehicle Response. He co-hosts the Apparatus Architects podcast with Wilbur, based on their column in Firehouse Magazine.