After more then 2-1/2 years of diligent work, beginning in the Autumn of 2018, subsequently strained by the reality which is Covid-19, the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company is proud to announce that we have entered into a contract with the Sutphen Corporation of Dublin, Ohio (just NW of Columbus) to build a new Rescue / Engine. This has been a deliberate, exhaustive process. Multiple fire apparatus manufacturers were invited to participate in the process. Those participating vendors listened to our needs and wants, then endeavored to propose a piece of equipment that both meets our specifications, while returning a bid that is financially attractive. Pricing is not the only attribute any emergency organization considers when purchasing new equipment. Quality & Warranties, along with guaranteed, dependable and reliable service in times of need, count for miles of traction.
This process successfully culminates a significant realignment in our apparatus inventory. A harsh evaluation of our emergency call demands strongly suggested we reevaluate where we were with the equipment we had in service. It was determined, from both a cost-effective measure, and an operational needs perspective, a reduction in the equipment we were maintaining. These measures reflect the extreme attitude with which our membership, and our Board of Directors, hold when it comes to husbanding the donations our benefactors generously provide.
Towards this effort, started more then 2-1/2 years ago, we eliminated an aging engine from our fleet, along with our Rescue Truck. The engine was sold to Cecilton VFC, just up over the county line in Cecil County. Our Rescue was sold to a department down in the Northern Neck of Virginia, where it continues to provide service. By realigning our remaining resources, we continued to provide the level of service to you, our community, which you have come to expect. For us, this was a minor inconvenience. Yet, we drew inspiration from the fact our efforts would improve and promote our ability to provide improved fire and life safety to our community in the long run.
We’re excited to share with our community the description of our new rig, where delivery is expected per the contract, in 13 – 15 months. This custom-built apparatus will be a 2021/2022 Sutphen Monarch Custom Rescue/Engine. It will feature a 6-man cab, where each firefighter is seated and provided with a seatbelt, imperative for safety in the unfortunate event there is a crash. It will carry 1000 gallons of water and feature a 1500 GPM (gallons per minute) Hale fire pump. When it comes to large fires, such as the McCrory’s fire that struck Downtown Chestertown in 1992, the ability to provide “Big Water for Big Fire” definitely makes the difference between success and failure. Fires like that don’t often happen. When they do? We need to be ready, with the preparedness responsibly measured against our budget.
The new rig will carry 1000’ of 5” supply hose, needed to support that 1500 gpm pump. In addition, it will carry 500’ of 3” hose, equipped with a gated wye. This particular feature, the 3” hose, proved useful recently when, during a working structure fire, another engine became stuck a distance from the fire. Our crew quickly adapted to that challenge. They used the provided 3” hose, continued the operation… and their assault against the fire.
This rig will be delivered, practically ready to go in service. For that, for all intents and purposes, a “turn-key” delivery. It will have all the routine equipment found on both an engine… for firefighting, and for rescue… vehicle crashes and the odd other rescue situation we may be called upon to assist with. The vehicle has been specified to meet the minimum qualifications as set forth by the Kent County Fire Chief’s Association in their Rescue/Engine standards.
The purchase of this Sutphen Rescue/Engine will mark the fourth unit we’ve purchased from that vendor. In 1989, we took delivery of our first, a 90’ elevating platform. In 2009, we replaced an aging Class A engine with a new, custom built Sutphen pumper. Continuing the process, in 2014, we replaced the ’89 Tower with a new, custom built 100’ tower.
This latest rig will adhere to a unique “build” regimen. The chassis will be built from the ground up at the Sutphen main facility in Dublin, Ohio. From there, the chassis will be delivered to “Sutphen East”, located at Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania. This, very near the termination of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Here, the custom process (install of the pump, tank, fabrication of the body, and mounting of all equipment) will be completed. This new, innovative concept will promote Sutphen services to their customers on the East Coast. Previously a trip to the factory was an extended trip… many hours by road, travel-wise. This new arrangement represents a greatly enhanced service to their customers.
Our many and heart-felt thanks to all vendors who participated in our purchasing process. You all provided a quality bid worthy of consideration. It was a tough challenge, making a decision on whom to retain. Thank You, Again!
Our special thanks go to Lawver Fire Apparatus, the broker in this transaction.