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Innovative Rigs on the Street: Maui’s Engine 3 and Tanker 3 Protect Tourist Venues

In previous "Innovative Rigs on the Street" columns, we have visited departments located in California, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. For our next several installments, I traveled a little farther to the west, some 4,650 miles to the island of Maui, HI. I had the opportunity to visit several fire stations on several Hawaiian Islands and will review in some details the apparatus that has been uniquely designed to protect these areas.

The Maui County Department of Fire and Public Safety protects the islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe as well as the surrounding waterways. The Fire Department, under the command of Chief Jeffery A. Murray, maintains 14 fire stations throughout the county with 10 stations located on the island of Maui, three stations on Molokai and one on the island of Lanai. The island of Kahoolawe is approximately 45 square miles in size and has been used in the past as a military training and testing ground and is not inhabited.

The main island of Maui is approximately 727 square miles in size with a population of 147,100 residents. As Maui is one of the prime vacation spots for people from the mainland and other countries, this population can easily double at many times with close to three million tourists visiting the island annually. As the major industries are agriculture and tourism, the Department of Fire and Public Safety faces many challenges including wildland fires, water rescue, mountain rescue and hazardous materials incidents.

The department operates with 14 engine companies, two ladder companies, a rescue company and a hazardous materials unit together with six tankers and three mini pumpers. This diverse fleet of equipment is designed to operate with a great deal of flexibility as the stations must be able to operate independently due to the long travel distances involved and limited road access in many locations. Since 2005, the department has acquired a number of new apparatus including 10 engines, three mini pumpers and two tankers. Both the heavy rescue truck and hazardous materials unit have recently been replaced to improve the service delivery for the department.

Fire Station 3 is located in Lahania on the west coast of the island. This area is heavily developed with hotels, shopping areas and a harbor marina to accommodate the tourists and other travelers. The station is assigned an engine, truck and tanker with eight personnel assigned on each shift. This station operates one of the two ladder companies on the island and is assigned a 2003 Pierce Dash 105-foot rear-mount quint. Ladder 3 is equipped with a 1,500-gpm pump, 300-gallon water tank and All Steer capability on the rear axles.

Engine 3 is a 2008 Spartan Gladiator custom chassis with aluminum bodywork by Super Vac of Loveland, CO. With the many tight streets in Lahania, and its off-road capabilities with four-wheel drive, the apparatus was built on a short 188- inch wheelbase with an overall length of 32 feet 3 inches. A Caterpillar C13 engine, rated at 525 horsepower through an Allison EVS-4000 transmission, powers the apparatus. The front driving axle is rated at 22,000 pounds with a rear axle rating of 24,000 pounds. The cab is provided with seating for six personnel with a 10-inch raised roof.

Firefighting capabilities are provided by a Waterous CMUC two-stage fire pump, rated at 1,500 gpm and is equipped with an Eclipse compressed air foam system. The engine carries 780 gallons of water with a 30-gallon Class A foam tank. Attack lines include a front bumper trash line, four speedlay hose beds located in front of the pump panel and a preconnected 2.5-inch hand line in the rear hose bed. A Task Force Blitz Fire portable monitor is carried in the rear in addition to a top-mounted Task Force Crossfire monitor for master stream use.

The aluminum body is 136 inches long and is equipped with seven enclosed lower body compartments together with top body locker compartments designed to accommodate backboards and a stokes basket. A hydraulic ladder rack on the right side of the body is used to store a 10-foot folding ladder, 14-foot roof ladder and a 24-foot extension ladder. The rear hose bed is protected with a two-piece aluminum tread plate hose bed cover.

Emergency warning lights consist of a full width Whelen Freedom LED light bar on the cab roof together with LED lights mounted both low and high around the perimeter of the body. Scene lighting is provided by a Super Vac Command Light, which is mounted on top of the raised roof cab together with side-mounted Whelen scene lights on the cab.

Tanker 3 is a 2010 Tatra model T-815 6x6 four-door cab chassis with seating for six personnel. A Cummins ISM engine, rated at 400 horsepower through a twin-disc six-speed automatic transmission, powers this unit. These rugged chassis are produced in Koprivnice in the Czech Republic and are used extensively overseas in commercial and military applications. The apparatus is built on a wheelbase of 188.5 inches with an overall length of 30 feet 9 inches. Tanker 3 has an overall height of 131 inches and is equipped with a central tire inflation system that can be automatically adjusted depending upon the terrain conditions. The heavy -duty chassis has a front axle rating of 17,637 pounds with a tandem rear axle rating of 39,682 pounds. The completed apparatus has a front angle of approach of 34 degrees with a rear angle of departure of 37 degrees.

The aluminum body is 161 inches long and is equipped with six lower body and two upper locker style compartments to accommodate tools and equipment. The upper body compartments are accessed through a pullout pool-style ladder. Apparatus warning lights consist of two Whelen Freedom mini LED light bars on the cab roof together with 14 Whelen 700 series LED lights around the perimeter of the apparatus. Weldon scene lights are located on each side of the body and at the rear for nighttime illumination.

The apparatus is equipped with a Waterous model 500-150 fire pump module rated at 50 gpm with a Aquis 2.5 Class A foam system. The fire pump is driven by a power take off and is rated at 500 gpm together with a 150 cfm air compressor. Fire pump discharges include five 1 3/4-inch discharges together with a bumper-mounted Task Force monitor rated at 500 gpm and a top-mounted Task Force remote-control deck gun rated at 500 gpm. Booster reels, each equipped with 150 feet of 3/4-inch hose, are located on each side at the front of the body. Tanker 3 carries 2,000 gallons of water with a 50 gallon Class A foam tank to supply the pump during operations. The water tank is equipped with a manually operated rear quick dump and direct tank fill valve for use during refill operations. This apparatus is an imposing vehicle and makes a good account of itself at any wildland incident.

The Maui County Department of Fire and Public Safety can be proud of its services to the community and in the future plans to continue its progressive approach to fire apparatus design. Appreciation is extended to Deputy Chief Robert Shimada who assisted in making arrangements for fire station visits and apparatus photographs.

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.