Chestertown VFC to have engine/rescue custom built

In this photo provided by the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company, members of its “New Truck Committee” are pictured with representatives of Lawver Fire Apparatus. From left are: Deputy Chief Brad Russum, Chief John “Otis” Darling, Mike Olsen, President Dave Eason Sr., David Chaires of Lawver Fire Apparatus, John Lawver of Lawver Fire Apparatus, Christopher Carter, Renny Grapes and Donnie Hodges Sr. Missing from the photo are committee members Claude Joyner, David Eason Jr. and Phillip Lott.

CHESTERTOWN — The volunteer fire company here has entered into a contract with the Sutphen Corporation of Dublin, Ohio to build a vehicle that will have all the routine equipment found on an engine for firefighting and for rescue such as car crashes.

It has been specified to meet the minimum qualifications of the Kent County Fire Chief’s Association in its rescue/engine standards, according to a news release.

Delivery of the new rig is expected in 13 to 15 months.

“This has been a deliberate, exhaustive process,” beginning in the fall of 2018 and “strained by the reality which is Covid-19,” according to a post on the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company’s Facebook page.

This culminates what was described as a “significant realignment” in the fire company’s apparatus inventory.

“A harsh evaluation of our emergency call demands strongly suggested we reevaluate where we were with the equipment we had in service,” according to the Facebook post.

Weighing cost effectiveness and operational needs, the membership and board of directors made the decision to reduce the number of apparatus.

An aging engine truck was sold to Cecilton VFC and the rescue truck was sold to a fire department 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. ... 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,” the fire company said in a prepared statement.

The new apparatus is a 2021-2022 Sutphen Monarch Custom Rescue/Engine. It has a six-man cab, where each firefighter is seated and provided with a seat belt

The rescue/engine will carry 1,000 gallons of water and feature a 1500 GPM (gallons per minute) Hale fire pump capable of providing “big water for a big fire,” such as the McCrory’s fire in downtown Chestertown in 1992.

The new rig will carry 1,000 feet of 5-inch supply hose, needed to support the 1500 GPM pump.

It also will carry 500 feet of 3-inch hose, equipped with a gated wye.

The 3-inch hose proved useful April 18 when, during a working house fire on Langford Road, another engine became stuck in a ditch at the entrance to the lane The crew quickly adapted to that challenge, using the provided hose to continue the operation.

The new rig practically will be ready for use upon delivery, according to a fire company statement.

Lawver Fire Apparatus was the broker in the transaction.

This is the fourth unit that Chestertown VFC has purchased from Sutphen, according to the news release. The first was a 90-foot elevating platform in 1989. In 2009, the fire company replaced an aging Class A engine with a new, custom built Sutphen pumper. And in 2014, the ’89 tower truck was replaced with a new, custom-built 100-foot tower.

This latest rig will adhere to a unique “build” regimen, according to the news release.

The chassis will be built from the ground up at the Sutphen main facility in Dublin and then delivered to the Sutphen East location in Lake Ariel, Pa., where the custom process — installation of the pump, tank, fabrication of the body and mounting of all equipment — will be completed, according to the news release.

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