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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Kingston Fire District, University of Rhode Island unveil new aerial platform truck

KINGSTON, R.I. -- Jan. 24, 2001 -- The Kingston Fire District and the University of Rhode Island today unveiled a new aerial platform fire truck that can reach the tops of the highest buildings on campus and provides firefighters with a safer and more versatile tool for lofty fire assaults.

The $650,000 1999 E-One truck replaces the district's 1989, 100-foot, light duty Seagrave ladder, which is owned by the University. The University provides substantial operating funds for the fire department through a contract with the Kingston Fire District. Emergency One Inc., of Ocala, Fla., built the new vehicle.

The E-One is a demonstration model that Kingston Fire Chief Nate Barrington said saved the district and the University up to $50,000 from the cost of a 2000 model straight from the factory.

Barrington said the old ladder truck had limited use for several reasons. When it was fully extended, it had to be resting against the building. Not more than one firefighter could be at the ladder's tip without building support.

The new platform, which extends from the tip of the ladder, can carry two or three firefighters without needing building support, and its floor is equipped with a heat shield. It can carry 1,200 pounds of equipment and personnel at all angles of elevation at full extension. In addition, the accompanying extendable ladder can be climbed. It has the widest ladder sections in the industry, so it can be used to lower a victim down in a rescue basket.

In addition, Barrington said 12 people at a time could be on the ladder during evacuations, an impossible load for the old apparatus.

"This is actually a mobile fire escape," said J. Vernon Wyman, URI assistant vice president for business services.

"This truck is a real asset to every student in a residence hall and the University as a whole," said Frank McGovern, director of URI's Department of Safety and Risk Management.

Barrington said the truck purchase is the result of a solid partnership with the University. He said he has a great working relationship with Frank McGovern, URI's director of safety and risk management, and Wyman.

When the platform is fully extended, it is 100 feet above the ground, Barrington said, which means it can easily reach the highest building points on campus. The platform can be tipped, so firefighters can cut a hole in a roof without having to actually be on a burning structure.

There is an intercom at the turntable or base of the platform apparatus and in the platform, so that firefighters at the top and bottom can communicate. The apparatus is also equipped with a direct air feed, which can send air directly to firefighters' air packs while working above a building.

A 4-inch monitor (or water jet) and a master stream line that flows 1,000 gallons of water per minute eliminate the need for firefighters to carry hose up the ladder.

To get water to higher elevations with the old ladder, firefighters would have to drag hose to the tip. A hose produced a flow of only 600 gallons per minute.

"We can also move this while flowing water," Barrington said.

The new truck has seating for six, but it can be outfitted with two more seats, said Lt. Mark Walsh, a full-time URI student from Narragansett, who is in charge of the truck.

"This provides us with increased reach over buildings and the bucket allows for easier building evacuations," said Walsh, who is one of nine resident firefighters who live at the station on Bills Road.

"We specifically bought this with the campus in mind," Barrington said. "We can put this up to a dorm and evacuate a significant number of people very quickly. We can get water to higher elevations in academic buildings," he said.

All of the 31 members of the volunteer department will be trained on the new truck.

During a brief test drive, Walsh said the truck handles very well. It has a 470-horsepower Cummings diesel engine and a five-speed automatic transmission. The front wheels turn 45 degrees, which Walsh said is very helpful while traveling on some of the small campus roads.

During a demonstration, Walsh extended the ladder/platform smoothly over a building near the old URI dairy barns. It moved easily from side to side and to its full 95-foot extension.

The Kingston Fire District is one of two districts in the Town of South Kingstown. Kingston covers the campus, and surrounding village of Kingston. The Union Fire District provides fire protection to the rest of the town. However, each volunteer district works together on mutual aid calls.

Barrington, who works full-time as a physician assistant at the Roger Williams Medical Center, said the new platform truck is a great complement to Union's 105-foot, heavy-duty ladder housed in Wakefield, which would also respond to URI on a mutual aid call.

Barrington said the platform truck will also be responding to emergencies throughout the town, as it is needed.

For Information: Nate Barrignton 783-6830, J. Vernon Wyman 874-5478, Frank McGovern 874-2618, Dave Lavallee 874-2116

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Copyright 2001 University of Rhode Island. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Page last revised on Saturday, February 24, 2001 .