Round Lake (NY) Sutphen Solutions

Fire Apparatus Magazine | July 2019

As with many areas that were once rural within proximity to a large city, the chance for them rapidly growing into a bedroom and commuter community is quite likely, especially if you’re located in the Capital District of New York State. Round Lake, New York, is a village in Saratoga County just north of Albany.

It’s a quaint little village that was once just a summer retreat haven for many enjoying time on the round lake. Since that lake provided so much enjoyment, it had numerous cottages strewn along the lakeside. As with many historic fire events that have led to the creation of a fire department, a tragic fire in 1886 destroyed three prominent people’s homes on the lake and led to the creation of the M.B Sherman Hose Company. Its original apparatus was a two-wheeled hose cart with two sizes of hose, and it later acquired another to provide additional protection to the community.

Over the years, the village just off Exit 11 on Interstate 87 (Adirondack Northway) has seen abundant growth in residential homes and complexes, light commercial buildings, and traffic. To compensate for that growth, the Round Lake and Malta Ridge Fire Departments, which both needed to upgrade their substations, formed the Fire Companies of Malta and are cohabiting a large new modern firehouse. In addition to sharing the substation, the departments have cross-trained their members on the apparatus and drill together to form more unity in tactics and procedures. In addition, with these items in place, they’ve allowed each department’s members to respond on either department’s apparatus, helping with staffing shortages in the volunteer response spectrum.

The Round Lake Fire Department has experienced a building boom in its response area, and its apparatus were becoming antiquated to meet the needs of fire protection as well as coming toward the end of their first-line service years. Its American LaFrance quint with 75-foot ladder needed to be replaced—refurbishing the apparatus was out of the question. Plus, with the building of two complexes of 15 wood-frame buildings three stories high with long hallways requiring long hoseline stretches and having numerous balconies and tight parking lots, the department saw a need to upgrade its apparatus, equipment, and tactics to continue providing proper fire protection to the residents of the communities it serves. With widespread growth, its main fire station needed to be rebuilt to maintain coverage on both sides of its response district. To come up with some solutions, the department formed an apparatus committee three years ago that put in countless hours of research and looked into what would meet the department’s needs to handle this building boom.

After looking into many options for apparatus, the department felt that it would need to replace its aging quint and add an additional engine-tanker. According to Chief Frank Mazza, the quint concept had worked so well for the department in the past that the committee felt it was best to continue operating with that concept. They also wanted to improve on the design of their old apparatus. The answer was unanimous that it needed more hose, but with quint apparatus that could make gaining better hosebeds difficult. The committee looked at many apparatus options and once Vander Molen Fire Apparatus Sales and Service of DeWitt, New York, was contacted, they started to pursue the Sutphen brand, mostly because of the dedication of the Sutphen salesperson and engineering team in creating the two unique rigs that Round Lake was interested in building. Nick Catalino, sales manager with Vander Molen and former engineer with Sutphen, says that the quint was a challenge to build because they were trying to build a ladder with the same body configuration as an engine. Since funding was available and Round Lake was interested in another apparatus to purchase, a second vehicle was also in the process of being drawn up. The department also wanted to bring in an engine with a large water tank. Sutphen was chosen for both projects, and the engine-tanker would be built on the same type of ladder chassis and on the ladder assembly line to keep them as close as possible.


The apparatus committee was impressed with the low hosebed design of the Sutphen SL75 midmount ladder with a short wheelbase for maneuverability inside the new building complexes. In addition, with many quints not having room for a full ladder complement, the committee and Sutphen designed this rig with low compartments on both sides so ladders could be stored above them on each side of the apparatus. Because many of the new complexes had rear-facing balconies and no access for aerial apparatus, the committee was concerned with having a full complement of ladders, and now they have them. On the officer’s side of the rig, there are 24- and 28-foot two-section portable ladders and a 10-foot folding ladder. The driver’s side of the apparatus carries a three-section 35-foot ladder and a 14-foot roof ladder. On the base section of the aerial ladder, a 14- and a 16-foot roof ladder are stowed on the outside. In a unique transverse compartment on the rear of the apparatus, a 12-foot A-frame ladder is stored, giving the quint a full complement of portable ladders. All of the ladders are the Alco-Lite brand.

Round Lake’s “Engine/Ladder EL-542” is built on a Monarch heavy-duty custom chassis with a four-door 62-inch air-conditioned extended cab with a 10-inch raised roof and seating for six firefighters. The cab has Velvac blind spot mirrors (assisting the chauffeur with tight turns in the complexes’ parking lots) and Lang-Mekra West Coast side-view mirrors. On the chauffeur’s side of the cab, the unit is equipped with Kussmaul auto-eject battery charge, shoreline power, and air line backup receptacles. It has a 221-inch wheelbase and a 10-foot 3-inch travel height and is 36 feet 7 inches long. It has 10-inch double Domex frame rails and is powered by a Cummins X12 500-horsepower engine and Allison 5th Gen EVS 4000 transmission. It has a 500-gallon water tank and Hale Qmax 2,000-gallon-per-minute (gpm) single-stage pump with a TFT Typhoon monitor with stacked tips at the end of its prepiped waterway. The Sutphen SL75 has a 1,000-pound tip load when not flowing; when flowing up to 1,500 gpm, it has a 750-pound tip load. The tip also is a bolt-on egress tip. Another feature of the SL75 is that the monitor is radio-controlled and can be operated at the tip of the third or fourth section of the aerial ladder.

The apparatus boasts a Whelen light package with a rear Traffic Advisor™, 4500 series Build-a-Bar, brow light, Pioneer scene lights, rub rail lights, SlimLine™ boom lights, and Rotabeam light bars. It also boasts a Federal Q2B siren mounted on its front grille. The compartments are hinge-style except for the rear roll-up door compartment. Above the portable ladders is the rig’s hook storage compartment. Under the portable ladder storage on the chauffeur’s side of the apparatus is storage for the high-rise hose roll-ups, while the officer’s side has 200 feet of 2½-inch hose preconnected to an Elkhart Brass Ram XD portable monitor device for quick attacks. The low hosebed resulted from some very good forethought by the committee because of the long stretches crews may encounter. All of the beds off the back step have 200 feet of hose preconnected to the rear discharges that sit on top of 200 feet of dead lay. With the discharge at the rear and this storage arrangement, it makes it very simple to add a length or more of hose into the stretch. Plus, with the low bed design, the rig has 800 feet of five-inch supply line stored in it. The 30-inch front bumper extension has recessed air horns, and its compartment allows storage for two sets of crosslays that help if the quint pulls up first due and must gain ladder position but must also simultaneously stretch off the front bumper.


When the committee was looking into purchasing two apparatus, there was one main concern among all the members, and that was training. According to Captain Shaun Flynn, driver qualification training is much simpler and faster because the cabs are almost identical, and the pump panels are exactly the same. Being built on the same line at the factory, the bodies are as close as they can be with some minor exceptions. In addition, both apparatus carry the same equipment with the exception of the engine being equipped with a front suction and other drafting appliances. With all the other tools and appliances, the rigs are laid out almost identically so any firefighter can go to either apparatus and know the location of a certain tool when called for.

Round Lake’s “Engine-Tanker ETA-543” is also a Monarch heavy-duty custom chassis with a four-door 62-inch extended cab with a 10-inch raised roof with seating for six firefighters. The cab has Velvac blind spot mirrors (assisting the chauffeur with tight turns in the complexes’ parking lots) and Lang-Mekra West Coast side-view mirrors. It has a shorter wheelbase than the aerial at 195 inches and is shorter at 33 feet 11 inches long. It also has 10-inch double Domex frame rails and is powered by a Cummins X12 500-hp engine and an Allison 5th Gen EVS 4000 transmission. It has a much larger water tank capacity, holding 1,000 gallons, and has a Hale Qmax 2,000-gpm single-stage pump. The lighting package and siren are similar to the aerial ladder. The 24-inch bumper extension also has two recessed air horns and front prepiped suction elbow and trough for five-inch supply line and 2½-inch hoseline.

Above the pump panel sits an Akron Apollo 3426 manual monitor. The portable ladder complement is the same as the ladder truck, and the rear compartment is also a transverse compartment. Another wonderful feature of this apparatus is the low hosebed, which eases deploying the attack and supply lines. The apparatus carries 1,000 feet of five-inch supply line. Also, in the rear, there are four prepiped rear discharges. The attack line hosebeds are also preconnected lines with a dead lay beneath those lines so if the need to extend a line is called for, it can be done rapidly by adding a length to the rear. The apparatus has the same hose storage for high-rise packs on the chauffeur side and the Elkhart Brass Ram XD preconnected on the officer’s side of the rig.

Sutphen stepped up to the challenge and produced two very unique rigs for a department located in the Northeastern United States. Vander Molen sales also added a few items to the rigs that they put on all rigs they build in the Northeast: Onspot chains and a heavy-duty bumper compartment to keep salt and road debris out. Sutphen and the Round Lake Fire Department’s combined efforts have produced two very well designed and laid out apparatus that will serve the needs of the department as it tackles the new challenges that await in the communities for which it provides protection.


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