Scott Lewis, chief of Pahrump Valley (NV) Fire & Rescue, knew he had a problem when one of his first-due pumpers, blew an engine and went out of service. He turned to Firetrucks Unlimited to help him figure out if it could be repaired at reasonable cost or would have to be replaced. The answer—replacement was needed. “We had a history of buying from Firetrucks Unlimited and also of buying used and refurbished vehicles,” says Lewis. “We had a couple of other aging pumpers so we talked with Firetrucks Unlimited about purchasing more than one pumper at the same time.”
Brian Reyburn, Firetrucks Unlimited vice president, says he and the chief sat down and determined what was needed for its first line pumpers and came up with a plan where Firetrucks Unlimited would refurbish three 1998 Pierce Quantum pumpers to Pahrump Valley’s specs. “Many of the fire departments in this area—Henderson, Clark County, Las Vegas County, and Boulder County—all run Pierce pumpers,” Reyburn says.
Firetrucks Unlimited refurbished and sold three Pierce Quantum pumpers to the same specification for Pahrump Valley (NV) Fire & Rescue. Shown are before and after views of the first pumper refurbished.
Pahrump Valley is located in Southwest Nevada approximately 45 miles from Las Vegas and serves a rapidly growing population of about 40,000 permanent residents and 5,000 seasonal visitors. The department is staffed by 27 paid firefighters and 20 volunteers in three stations, which are staffed 24 hours a day.
Reyburn notes that Firetrucks Unlimited worked with Pahrump Valley on the specs for the refurbished pumpers, then went through each of the vehicles completely, performing chassis work, rebuilding engines, putting in new suspensions and brakes, overhauling the drive lines, rebuilding the pumps and valves, and upgrading the water tanks with polyethylene models.
Refurbishing of the Pierce pumpers for Pahrump Valley required Firetrucks Unlimited to perform chassis work, put in new suspension and brakes and overhaul the drive lines, as well as other upgrades such as a new polyethylene water tank. Before and after views.
Lewis points out that Pahrump Valley knew the background of the vehicles. “We were aware they were designed well and worked well,” he says, “and the pumps were the same as we were using in our department—Hale 1,250-gpm pumps. And, we didn’t have to worry about their maintenance because we had the history of each of the vehicles and access to their maintenance records.”
Each of the refurbished Pierce Quantum fire apparatus is powered by a Detroit Series 60 engine, an Allison MD4060P automatic transmission, has a Hale pump, an 800-gallon water tank, and a 50 gallon foam cell. Cost to purchase each vehicle is $168,000, without equipment.
Lewis thinks that the Pahrump Valley’s 2004 American LaFrance Mack AerialScope ladder truck with a 1,500-gpm pump and 300-gallon water tank would be a perfect candidate for refurbishment when the time comes. “I think we will expand our refurbishment policy out to even include our ambulances,” he says. “We run about 100,000 miles a year on each of our four front-line ambulances, and if we could save $30,000 to $40,000 per unit, that would be great for the budget.”
Each of the Pierce Quantums that Pahrump Valley purchased from Firetrucks Unlimited are powered by a Detroit Series 60 engine and an Allison MD4060P automatic transmission.
Pahrump Valley has mostly Wheeled Coach Chevy and Dodge ambulances, most with Cummins diesel engines, which the chief notes “keep them going like they are brand new.” The department’s fleet also includes a 2005 E-ONE pumper with a 1,500-gpm pump and 500-gallon water tank, two 2004 American LaFrance pumpers with 2,000-gpm pumps and 2,000-gallon water tanks, a GMC/Saulsbury rescue, two Sterling/Rosenbauer 3,500-gallon tankers, two Type VI and one Type III wildland vehicles, and assorted reserve and command vehicles.
Brian Reyburn, Firetrucks Unlimited vice president, points out that the cost of a refurbished vehicle is one of the biggest benefits for fire departments in purchasing a used truck. “For a complete overhaul of a pumper, we do it for about 60 percent less than the cost of buying a new one,” he says. “New pumpers run between $450,000 and $550,000, while refurbished ones run from $160,000 to $210,000, depending on what the customer wants. We have a standard level of work we propose but will do more or less as the customer requests. And, there’s an added benefit in that we can get a vehicle into front-line service faster than if it is built from scratch.”
Pahrump Valley chose to purchase three refurbished Pierce Quantum pumpers from Firetrucks Unlimited instead of buying one newly-built rig from a custom pumper manufacturer. Pahrump Valley’s chief says the department was able to get all three refurbished vehicles for the high-end cost of a new custom pumper.
Firetrucks Unlimited recently moved into a new 23,000-square-foot facility in Henderson, Nevada, which has nine bays, double deep, to perform refurbishing work.
Lewis notes that top-line service is a benefit of purchasing refurbished vehicles. “That was a huge selling point for us,” he says, “the service and warranty work that Firetrucks Unlimited does. They also have a field maintenance unit, which is a big help to us, as well as a flat-bedding vehicle that can take a pumper if necessary. Firetrucks Unlimited has bent over backwards for us—their products are great and their service is key.”
By Alan M. Pertillo
Alan is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment editorial advisory board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.