Joplin Firefighters Leased New Pumper for $1

JOPLIN, Mo. – When a department is faced with a catastrophic natural disaster like the one that roared through Missouri last week it’s all hands, and apparatus, on deck.

And because one of the fire stations in the city was squarely in the path of destruction, Joplin lost two apparatus.

As much as they might want to it is obviously not possible to conjure apparatus from rubble. The department was stuck, that is until one of the nation’s largest apparatus builders decided to help out the community which also happens to be a client.

Rosenbauer America decided to lease a demonstrator pumper the company had in the area for one dollar to the Joplin Fire Department – and the lease is for as long as they need it.

“We just wanted to help out,” said Scott Oyen, vice president of sales for Rosenbauer’s Central Division in a telephone interview with Friday afternoon.

Oyen said it just so happened that Rosenbauer had a demonstrator in Missouri and the local dealer for that area, Floyd Bacon of Max Fire Apparatus, Castle Rock, Colo., called corporate headquarters asking if there was something the company could do to help out a city knocked to its knees.

The company responded with the offer and the pumper was due in Joplin by late Friday, according to Oyen, who said the apparatus is fully compliant and ready to go with only the addition of equipment needed. He is hoping the department was able to salvage loose equipment to outfit the pumper which has a 1,250-gpm Rosenbauer pump, a 750-gallon tank and a rescue-style body. It’s built on a Spartan custom cab and chassis.

“We have had a long relationship with Joplin and we wanted to take care of them,” Oyen said, adding that even if Joplin hadn’t been a client, the company would have responded. “It’s just something we wanted to do.”

Harold Boer, CEO of Rosenbauer America and founder of its Central Division in Lyons, S.D., said in a news release that Joplin has three Rosenbauer apparatus in its fleet and his company had a duty to respond with help.

“As a fire chief for over 30 years, I have deep compassion for the Joplin community,” Boer said. “It is unfortunate that any community suffers a catastrophic natural disaster, especially those who have patronized our business. … so the best Rosenbauer can do now is to provide a fully certified and operational truck to help replace the trucks lost in the storm.”

To physically make the plan work, Rosenbauer relied upon its dealer network. Towers Fire Apparatus in Freeburg, Ill., performed a pump certification test, Franco Fire, Arnold, Mo., provided a driver and fuel to move the truck as needed and Max Fire volunteered to deliver the pumper and perform all maintenance needed as long as Joplin needs the apparatus during the community’s recovery period.

It’s not the first time Rosenbauer responded to a need in the fire service in times of crisis. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the company donated a rescue truck to the Fire Department of New York (FDNY).