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New Haven Hose puts new truck into commission in Connellsville

| Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, 8:18 p.m.
Lori C. Padilla | for Trib Total Media
New Haven Hose Company Volunteer Fire Department recently welcomed its new fire and rescue truck, completely designed to fit the its needs. The truck, replacing two older vehicles, will be used mainly for accidents or support for the company while on scene. Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Layton (left) and Fire Chief Bob Topper Sr. look over some of the truck's equipment.

New Haven Hose Company Volunteer Fire Department has put into commission its new fire truck, designed by the department and doing the work of two trucks.

“We started two-and-a-half years ago with the truck committee, designing and working with the manufacturer to design and customize every square inch of the truck,” said Bob Topper Sr., New Haven Hose fire chief. “I couldn't tell you how many hours of meetings we had.”

Helping to design the truck was Precision Fire Apparatus, Camdenton, Mo., and the chassis with Spartan Chassis out of Michigan.

Topper said the purpose of the new truck was to be equipped and functional to replace two older vehicles — a 1988 rescue truck and a 1991 fire engine.

“We wanted to make sure we had enough rescue equipment compartment space and enough space to expand our rescue capabilities,” Topper said, because all fire trucks are built to last approximately 25 years. “So you're not only thinking what you're doing today, but what you're going to do tomorrow.”

Some features of the truck include a six-man cab, rear mount pump, capability of holding 860 gallons of water and 40 gallons of foam, 1,500 GPM waterous pump, 1,000 GPM Deluge gun, 1,250 feet of 5-inch hose, 450 feet of 3-inch hose, one pre-connected step gun, light tower, 12-KW PTO generator, Genesis hydraulic pumps, cascade system with booster to refill firefighter air tanks, full-rope rescue capabilities, two 250-foot electric reels, cutting torch, various portable tools, Hazmat compartment, four different ladders and more.

“It's the Swiss Army knife of firetrucks,” Topper said. “We got what we could afford and what could give us the biggest bang for the buck.”

Even though Topper said the truck is as big as the price tag of more than $500,000, there's a cost savings involved — the cost to purchase two trucks would be between $900,000 and $1 million.

New Haven Hose put the down payment of $52,000 on the truck. The Connellsville Redevelopment Authority made a $35,000 payment with Community Development Block Grant money. New Haven Hose will make the remaining payments, according to Topper.

Topper said he hopes the city and the residents will continue their support of the VFD to help pay for the truck and continue to give fire protection for the city whenever New Haven Hose holds annual fund drives and regular fundraisers.

“It's costly to run a fire department, especially one large enough to serve a third-class city,” Topper said.

Topper said the department's fleet is up to date, and unless something unforeseen happens, they won't need to purchase another vehicle for 10 years, when the ladder truck will need replaced.

Until then, the department will continue to pay off the new truck while having it help the department serve the community, Topper said.

Topper said the volunteer firemen trained for two full days on the new piece of equipment and have taken it out on calls since it was delivered on Aug. 8.

“We're very pleased with the truck,” he said. “It has a lot of moving parts, lot of stuff on it and it can do a lot of things.”

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or

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