Innovative Rigs on the Street: Independent Fire's New Pumper

While many fire companies may be able to boast about being the first organization to reach specific benchmarks or milestones, few if any can lay claim to being the oldest fire department within an area. The Independent Hose Company of Fredrick, MD, was...


Engine 12 is equipped with a Hannay booster reel located over the left side fire pump together with a 100-foot trash lines located at the front bumper and the right side pump panel for minor fires. Attack lines include two 200-foot 1 3/4-inch crosslay lines together with a 300-foot 1 3/4-inch and a 200-foot 2 1/2-inch pre-connected lines at the rear hosebed. Other lines include a 200-foot 3-inch pre-connected leader line and a 1,200 feet of 4-inch supply line. The apparatus is provided with both front and rear 5-inch intakes with the rear intake tucked away in the rear step compartment.

Body Construction & Layout

The apparatus carries a 10-foot folding ladder, 14-foot roof ladder, 24-foot extension ladder and two pike poles within an enclosed compartment at the rear body. The body is constructed of stainless steel and has seven lower body and four upper body enclosed compartments. While the body is just 146 inches long by providing for a shorter 28 1/2-inch front body compartment with a 47 1/2-inch wide compartment behind the rear axle the engine was able to maintain a compact wheelbase.

At times the pump panel area can get quite busy and cluttered with intakes, discharges and instrumentation. Seagrave utilized a 48-inch wide pump enclosure which provided sufficient space for a logical arrangement for the controls for each discharge. In addition to the standard color coding, the labeling for each discharge where a pre-connected line was attached utilized the specific name for that line such as "Rear Leader Line" and "Rear 1.75 Attack Line." Small items such as this can make the pump operator's job much easier during the heat of battle when placing multiple lines into service.

The body compartments utilize a number of adjustable shelves, slide-out trays, a hinged tool board and appliance mounting board to properly secure all tools and equipment. As the Independent Hose Company operates a well equipped rescue engine, the tool inventory on Engine 12 was set up to run as a conventional engine company. The body has additional storage space for tools and equipment that may be placed onto the apparatus in the future without having to crowd items within the body interior. The offset hose bed at the rear provides ready access to the attack and supply lines and enables personnel to safely access this area when required.

The apparatus history of the Independent Hose Company is indeed unique with a number of well designed apparatus dating back to their first motorized piece in 1908. The current Engine 12 carries on this long tradition and should provide many years of reliable, safe service to the community and the riding personnel of the company. Appreciation is extended to the crew from the Independent Fire Company who assisted with information on this unit and their apparatus fleet.

  • See Tom Live! Tom Shand will be presenting "Fire Apparatus Purchasing: What You Need to Know Before Signing the Contract" and "Engine Companies: The Top 5 Things You Need to Accomplish at All Incidents" at Firehouse Expo, July 19 - 23, in Baltimore. He'll also be recording a live version of "The Apparatus Architects" podcast with Michael Wilbur. 

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.