The West Grove Fire Company proudly announces that it has placed into service its newest engine -- Engine 22-1. The newest addition to the WGFC fleet will be the first-out responding fire engine at Station 22 in West Grove.
Engine 22-1 is the result of 31 months of research and hard work, with the apparatus committee first appointed in August of 2019. The committee, comprised of officers and firefighters, had a goal to design a functional fire truck capable of carrying as much water as possible on an engine chassis that was short in length and height -- specifically to fit into the small engine bays at the West Grove station (and for maneuverability as well). The truck was also to be as "firefighter-friendly" as possible, while maintaining safety features. The committee also decided to specify completely stainless steel construction for the body and chassis to provide for long-term durability. Carrying water is critical to the WGFC as our community continues to be rural in nature and many fire/emergency scenes are not covered by fire hydrants.
The committee also based their work on a 2014 study by EVR, professional apparatus consultants used by the fire company to establish the fire company's long-term apparatus plan. That plan, which outlines a 25-year strategy for the purchase and maintenance of the company's fleet, provides for an orderly approach to managing the fleet, outlines strategies for apparatus design and use, and serves as a valuable asset as the WGFC communicates with municipal officials and the public about budgeting for fleet purchases on a longer-term basis. One aspect of that plan examines the expected life expectancy of fire trucks and sets a target for the fire company to begin examining replacement of the trucks after they are in service for 20+ years.
After the committee outlined a specification for the new engine, five vendors were invited in to review their capabilities. Based on experience from other previous apparatus purchases, the committee decided to only purchase from single-source manufacturers. Of those vendors, three were invited to bid on the project. As all of this was happening, the pandemic was unfolding, complicating the process of meeting and working on the engine project -- those impacts lasted throughout the majority of this project. After a lengthy process, that included visiting various fire companies across the multi-state area to examine their apparatus from the three brands, a contract was signed to purchase a Seagrave engine in the spring of 2020. At that point, the committee's work was far from over -- as meetings with the local dealer (10-8 of New Holland, PA) and Seagrave continued, including a pre-construction trip to the factory in July of 2020. While there were original hopes for a 10-12 months build time, the pandemic expanded that to 20 months. A final trip to the factory allowed the committee members to inspect and test the engine before it was shipped from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania.
The committee's work was not complete however. The team then made decisions on selected a vendor to apply the graphics (Sign Me Up) and a vendor to mount all of the fire company's portable tools (First Due Apparatus Solutions). The dealer 10-8 also had local tasks, including adding in all the radios and electronic equipment. The committee also worked closely with the fire company's line officers to purchase hand tools, equipment and hose to outfit the new engine. All of that work over 31 months came to a conclusion with the new Engine 22-1 being placed in service on March 22, 2022.
Engine 22-1 is a 2021 Seagrave Marauder 141" chassis with a Waterous 1500 gpm pump and a 1,000 gallon water tank, on a 146" body. The unit is powered by a Cummins L9 engine (450 hp) and an Allison 3500 transmission. The engine has a total of four 1.75" hoselines (one in the front bumper and 3 off the rear) This was a determined design feature of the new engine -- with most lines deployed from the rear on a lowered hose bed for firefighter accessibility. Engine 22-1 also has a preconnected 2.5" hoseline and a pre-piped deck gun. The unit carries 1200' of 5" supply line and 500' of 3" hose. The unit will also carry a complement of rescue tools. It carries all of the necessary equipment to perform engine company functions.
The committee accomplished its goals of designing a simple short maneuverable engine that will fit in any of our three stations and have as many safety features into service. The total cost of the engine (including portable equipment and upfitting), which will serve the greater West Grove area for the next 20+ years, was approximately $775,000.00. These purchases are paid for through a combination of low-interest state loans, continued support from the townships and municipalities, and donations from the community. And, while the total price is significant, consider that the truck is an investment in 20 years of service (approximately $39,000 annualized cost).
The new Engine 22-1 replaces a 1998 Pierce Lance Engine which had been stationed in London Britain and operated as Engine 22-3. The apparatus plan called for the 1998 engine to be replaced in 2021. Engine 22-3 has been sold and shipped to the Pierce City Fire Protection District in southwest Missouri, where it will continue to serve as a fire engine alongside WGFC's former Ladder 22 - which was also purchased by the PCFPD several years ago. The previous Engine 22-1 based in West Grove, a 2003 Pierce Dash Pumper, has been relocated to the London Britain station and will now run as Engine 22-3 (that pumper is 19 years old and is soon scheduled for replacement).
The fire company thanks the various partners involved in this project, including Seagrave, 10-8, Sign Me Up, First Due Apparatus Solutions, and the committee, which was chaired by former fire chief Eric Felker, and included members Joshua Hawk, Josh Oyler, Danny O'Connell, Charlie Harrison, and Tony Gialloreto. Current Fire Chief Justin Gattorno was also an active participant. The fire company also acknowledges the support of the members and staff of the fire company, the area elected municipal officials for their support, and for the continued support of the community.