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Innovative Rigs on the Street: Owings Mills’ All-Hazard Engine

With this edition of our “Innovative Rigs on the Street” series we have completed our first year of traveling around the country to review and discuss some well-designed apparatus serving in all sizes of communities. Over the years, the appearance of fire apparatus has changed dramatically. Early units produced during the 1920s were equipped with a small bench seat for the driver and officer and often lacked doors and even windshield protection. Most apparatus built up through the 1960s were open-cab units without a roof, with the crew riding in an exposed position on the rear step. While some departments opted for enclosed-cab apparatus during the 1970s for protection of members from civil disturbances, the four-door cab did not become the industry standard until 1991 due to changes in the NFPA 1901 document.

Today’s fire apparatus, particularly engine apparatus, can have a very similar appearance with full-height, rescue-style bodies and roll-up doors. At times, it can be difficult to easily distinguish one model from the next with even ground ladders disappearing from the side of the engine. Over the past decade, the mission of many fire departments has evolved from one of just fire suppression operations to include many other facets of emergency services. The current theme in many organizations is to brand themselves as an “All Hazards Agency.” With these changes come an increased amount of tools and equipment that must be carried, in addition to the standard hose and appliances that we have operated with for many years. How to safely and efficiently carry all of this equipment can be accomplished in many ways. One excellent example of this equipment packaging can be found in Owings Mills, MD.

The Department Today

The Owings Mills Volunteer Fire Company was organized in September 1921 and operates as Station 310 in Baltimore County, MD. Their first-due area encompasses a large number of commercial and office complexes and is one of the fastest-developing areas of the county. Today, the station is under the command of Captain Kevin Wallett and operates seven units from a single fire station located at 10401 Owings Mills Boulevard. During 2009, the station responded to 2,257 fire and 2,269 EMS incidents in their first due area and other locations in Baltimore County.

Over the years, the Owings Mills Fire Company has operated with many unique rigs and was the first volunteer company in Baltimore County to operate a ladder truck, in 1957, with a Maxim 65-foot midship aerial ladder. The fire company’s first motorized apparatus was a 1924 American LaFrance Type 38 500 gpm pumper equipped with a 35-gallon chemical tank. Through the years, engine apparatus operated by the fire company include a 1967 Hahn 750 gpm pumper, a 1982 Seagrave 1500 gpm pumper as well as a 1967 Ward LaFrance engine and a 1991 Duplex/Saulsbury pumper, both of which were acquired from other fire companies in Prince George’s County, MD.

Owings Mills has operated a number of ladder truck units over the years, including a 1951 Mack L-model 75-foot quint and a 1957 Ward LaFrance 85-foot ladder, both of which were equipped with Maxim midship aerials. In 1974, the fire company placed into service a unique Imperial 100-foot rear-mount Grove ladder that provided seating for six personnel with forward-facing jump seats. In addition to the engine and ladder company apparatus, several special units have been utilized by the fire company including a 1974 GMC hose and manifold wagon, a 1982 International front-mount pumper and a 1995 Ford/Marion mini-pumper.

Today, Owings Mills Station 310 runs with a 1994 Seagrave TB-model 2000 gpm pumper as Engine 311 and a 2003 Seagrave TT-model 100-foot, tractor-drawn, aerial ladder as Truck 313. In addition to these vehicles, the station staffs a brush truck, medic unit and two utility units. The station’s newest apparatus is Engine 312, a 2009 Seagrave model TB-80CM pumper that could be mistaken as a non-walk-in rescue truck due to its fully enclosed pump panel and top-side locker compartments. Over the years, Owings Mills has designed and operated a number of unique pieces of apparatus due in large part to the experience of their officers and members, with the assistance of long time life member Denny Warren. Denny has forgotten more about fire apparatus than most of us could possibly remember and has been instrumental in carefully following the design and manufacturing process of each of the fire companies apparatus for many years.

Engine 312 is a Seagrave Marauder II pumper with a 140-inch long cab and an 8-inch raised roof. This unit is powered by a Cummins ISM engine, rated at 500 horsepower, through an Allison Generation IV model EVS-4000 five-speed automatic transmission. The chassis is equipped with several safety enhancements including a full stainless steel cab, steel reinforced front bumper, front crossover mirror and a vertical exhaust. In addition, the apparatus is equipped with a Vogel chassis lubrication system and a WABCO electronic stability control.

Engine 312 is built with a wheelbase of 190.5 inches and an overall length of 31 feet, 5 inches. The Marauder II cab provides seating for eight personnel, with five seats equipped with hands-free self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) brackets. The apparatus body is 146 inches long with an overall height of 116 inches to the top of the vertical exhaust. The apparatus was specifically designed to provide a short wheelbase engine that could operate within the Owings Mills response area while providing the maximum amount of enclosed compartment space.

Cab Design & Features

The front of the apparatus is equipped with a steel reinforced front bumper designed to protect the apparatus and the crew. The 22-inch extension is equipped with a recessed 5-inch front intake accessed through a drop-down door in the front bumper, together with a 2.5-inch discharge equipped with 50 feet of 3-inch hose. This line is utilized to supply the Humat hydrant valve carried on most Baltimore County engine companies.

The apparatus warning-light package consists of a Whelen Freedom 88-inch long roof-mounted LED light bar with two Whelen mini-LED light bars located ahead of the raised cab roof. Forward-facing cab warning lights include six Whelen Super LED lights, twin pedestal-mounted Mars lights, together with a halogen Roto-Ray light. Body-warning lights consist of Whelen 600 and 900 model Super LED lights along both sides and rear of the apparatus, together with recessed Whelen LED rotator lights at the upper rear body corners.

Scene lighting is provided by a front-mounted cab Fire Research 1,000-watt Focus light and four Fire Research 1,000-watt Focus lights recess-mounted. These lights are powered by a Harrison 10-Kw hydraulic generator mounted over the fire pump, together with two Hannay electric cable reels each equipped with 200 feet of 10/3 cable.

Body Layout

The body is fabricated from stainless steel and is provided with seven enclosed lower-body compartments and four upper-body locker compartments. The lower-body compartments and the pump panels on each side of the body are protected by Robinson painted roll-up shutter doors. The body compartment layouts were set up to provide ready access to all tools and equipment by using an assortment of modules, tool boards, slide trays and adjustable shelves. Each piece of equipment was laid out by the fire company to allow adequate room for all of the intended tools with the equipment mounting completed by the local Seagrave dealership Interstate Truck Equipment in Hagerstown, MD.

The left- and right-side pump panels each have preconnected trash lines carried in the recessed hose wells that are supplied by 2-inch panel mounted discharges. The rear hose bed carries 1400 feet of 5-inch and 550 feet of 3-inch hose for supply lines. Each of these hose beds is provided with a four-way hydrant valve. Engine 312 carries two 200-foot, 1 3/4-inch attack lines in the rear hose bed together with a 150-foot, preconnected 2 1/2-inch line. An additional 300 feet of 3-inch hose is utilized for a leader line.

The fire pump on Engine 312 is a Waterous CSU rated at 2,250 gpm and can be supplied from either the front or rear 5-inch intakes, the left-side 6-inch inlet or the dual right-side 6-inch inlets. The rear intake is located inside of the rear body compartment and is equipped with a short length of 5-inch hose together with an LDH manifold. Each of the primary attack lines is supplied by hose bed discharges with large diameter discharges located at the right-side pump panel and at the left-side rear of the body. A Task Force 4-inch Monsoon monitor with pump-panel remote controls is located above the fire pump. A 500-gallon L-shaped water tank provides for a long hose bed floor at the rear body.

The Owings Mills Fire Company has had a long history of designing and operating some very unique rigs over the years and Engine 312 is no exception. The Fire Company set out to design their new engine apparatus to enhance their operations and provide additional safety components, while maintaining a short wheelbase and overall length. I would like to thank Denny Warren and the members of the Owings Mills Fire Company who assisted with technical information on their new apparatus.

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.