No Bull, No Fluff, No Smudges
Your news source for
Flagler, Florida and Beyond

Palm Coast Fire Department Takes Delivery of Versatile $1 Million Ladder Truck

| October 13, 2010

sutphen STH 100 ladder truck palm coast fire department

Ladder high. (© FlaglerLive)

[See the photo gallery below the text.]

In 2009 the Palm Coast Fire Department saw its ranks grow to 67 men and women with the opening of three new fire stations. Tuesday, the department took delivery of a ladder truck that will have nearly as comparable an impact on the department’s capabilities—the $1 million, 59,000-lb Sutphen SPH 100 (for “Sutphen Platform High”), as advanced and versatile a fire truck in its class as any. It replaces a 1970s model that had few of the new truck’s capabilities.

Listen to Jim Durban, a Sutphen delivery engineer who helped build the truck and drove it down from the company’s Ohio manufacturing plant on Tuesday. He’s training Palm Coast firefighters all week on their new apparatus (as firemen refer to their trucks).

“It’s got a 2,000 gallon a minute pump, it has a 300-gallon water tank with a 10kw hydraulic generator,” Durban says, walking around the new truck as it sat, toward the end of a training session, behind the fire house of Station 25 on Belle Terre Parkway Tuesday afternoon. “Has a Cummins 500 horse engine with an Allison five-speed automatic transmission, capacity is 1,000 pounds in a bucket or two men with water. It’s a very safe unit. It’s the only one that’s aluminum box-boom construction. We’re the only manufacturer that builds a ladder this type. It has a very shot-turning radius, or short wheel-base which makes a sharp turning radius—very maneuverable, very light-weight because the truck is built of aluminum. This truck is approximately 20,000 pounds lighter than comparable rear-mount trucks. It’s not built for over-the-road use, we get about 6 miles to the gallon with it. It’s a diesel of course, and a tank of fuel will last about four to five hours pumping at max capacity, so that should work for any fire they’re on.”

The new acquisition was more than two years in the works from the time it was laid out on blueprints to the day it arrived, Capt. Ron Petrillo said. The Palm Coast City Council approved the purchase on Oct. 20. (The precise cost of the truck is $984,678.79. Council member Frank Meeker had initially objected, but a conversation with Fire Chief Mike Beadle changed his mind.)

Petrillo, Beadle and Lt. Jason Laughren were in Ohio at the Sutphen factory for several days in early March familiarizing themselves with the custom-made truck as it was nearing completion. The department’s 15 lieutenants are spending the week training with Durban. The lieutenants will then train the department’s 42 other firefighters.

Some 75 feet above the firehouse, in the 19.5 sq. ft. bucket that can be lowered to ground level to pick up and drop off firefighters—or lowered below ground- or grade-level to perform operations—Lt. Randy Holmes put the versatility of the two water guns on display, firing both at close to 2,000 gallons per minute (into the pond below), showing their oscillating abilities and their use with remote controls: “One of the neat things about this is,” Holmes, a 17-year veteran with the department, said, “let’s say we were involved in something where we didn’t want to actually put crews, we didn’t want to actually put personnel in this bucket but have to take care in a fire maybe in a chemical-type situation, hazardous material release. This can all be operated from down there. We can actually set this gun up where it can sweep left and right, it’ll oscillate, and we can walk away from it.”

It’s like having extra manpower. Another ladder truck can be operated remotely, but with more limited capabilities, and with neither water tank nor pump on board. The new Sutphen can be operated, with its ladder extended to its full 100-foot height in up to 50 mph winds—with men in the bucket (where they’re latched). Breathing air can be pumped up to the bucket so firefighters don’t have to wear oxygen tanks.

Beadle, not surprisingly, was ecstatic at the new thing, which is going to be stationed at the Palm Harbor fire house. “State of the art, 25, 30 years it’s going to be here, and it’s keeping up with the progress of the times and expansion of the city,” Beadle said. “It’s a beautiful piece of equipment and we thank the mayor, the council, the city manager, the citizens for letting us keep up and getting it.”

In December, the fire department will take delivery of a smaller truck, that one valued at $374,000.

The New Sutphen SPH 100: A Photo Gallery:

Print Friendly

23 Responses for “Palm Coast Fire Department Takes Delivery of Versatile $1 Million Ladder Truck”

  1. Orion says:

    When I stopped by to see this new piece of equipment, the Chief and all the firemen were as happy and excited as I was to wake up Christmas Day, and find a truck under the tree for me, from Santa. This piece of equipment is just what we need with the anticipated growth of Flagler Hospital to 8 stories tall. It will also allow the fire depts of all Flagler County to fight fires from a height , that would extinguish them quicker. The Department’s readiness, has been a benefit to us all in Palm Coast, with our area’s fire rating elevated another level, this past year, reducing our premiums., ..While I wouldn’t want to hike up the ladder, to the bucket, being able to be 100 feet in the air, is a “super high”. Man, does this truck shoot out some volume of water. If you want to see what our taxes paid for today, and will be around for 25+ years , for our kids, stop by the main station on Belle Terre and see the truck, prior to it’s relocation to the Palm Harbor station..

  2. Poor Taxpayer says:

    So we now have four ladder trucks in the 8th smallest county in the state. This county should have one ladder to serve the entire county. it dont matter if the ladder gets to a fire in three minutes of 15 minutes. now we have two in palm coast, one in the hammock and one in Flagler beach. Good fiscal responsibility

  3. What The? says:

    Poor Taxpayer,
    I am guessing you do not understand the purpose of a ladder truck? I am guessing you did not read the article either as “The new acquisition was more than two years in the works from the time it was laid out on blueprints to the day it arrived,” This truck was not just bought and delivered in a week.
    I hope you never need to be rescued from a 4th floor building!

  4. Firefighter says:

    As a lieutenant in a large metropolitan fire dept. I was an officer in charge of a 100′ ladder truck in a city, which had hi-rise buildings as far as the eye could see.

    I rode such a truck as the OIC for over five years, we called it a ( fire nozzle on wheels), as 99% of the time when we had a fire in highrise, the sprinklers would extinguished it, more often than not the truck was parked, and the crew went into the building, as that is how the majority of these types of fires are fought, from the inside.

    A 100′ ladder can under ideal circumstances only reach the 9th floor, this is due to the elevation angle, if you throw in nearby parked cars, tennis courts, swimming pools, building overhangs etc. it becomes even more restrictive, and gives less reach.

    When such a large vehicle is commited into any tight area at a fire scene, it is very hard to get back out, or to turn around due to it’s large size and manuverability, in addition, if it the first unit in, it can also block other arriving apparatus from getting close to the scene. ( hence the reason why they get parked in a staging area out of the way)

    I also agree, that one ladder truck at a central location in the county, is all that is needed at the present time, as they are more show, than substance.

    At the present time I believe there are three Ladders, currently in the county, other than the territorial factions involved, why did they not have those three agencies work out a viable agreement, important now more than ever, because of the tough economic times we are in ?

    The city could probably have purchased two ( telesquirts ) for what they paid for that one ladder truck, telesquirts, are by far the most versatile, and probably the best firefighting apparatus available today, shorter chassis with ladder capability available.

    Since the vehicle has already been puchased, and knowing from experience that these vehicles are very heavy, and often not fuel efficient.

    I would strongly recommend, for cost purposes that it only be sent out for drills/ training, or on actual large structure fires, ie. industrial, hi-rise etc. not on vehicle accidents,grass fires, or even single family house fires. ( Which of couse is a decision to be made by the powers to be )

    Just be aware, that running this vehicle up and down the roads without cause, will of course only produce considerable stress on the chassis, and possibly the ladder itself over a period of time.

  5. John Smith says:

    Taxpayer has got to live in FB I thought they were the only ones that would make a stupid statement like that. And it most certainly does matter how quick it can be on a scene, 3 minutes to 15 minutes means another structure could be ruined do to a fire. He is another one that wants to live here for free.

  6. Citizen says:

    Heh, I would suggest asking the people who live in Ocean Palm Villas at the South end of Flagler Beach what they think about these trucks that are “more show than substance”. If I remember right, Flagler Beach’s ladder truck got to that fire in less than 10 minutes and is the only reason that two other eight-unit buildings adjacent to the one fully involved did not burn to the ground.

    Hey I guess as long as it’s not your house, I believe the term is “penny wise, pound foolish”. A well equipped fire department that is close to your house is by far some of the best comprehensive insurance one could hope for dollar for dollar.

  7. werd says:

    saw it twice today–very nice truck!!

    you cant miss it..thats for sure

  8. John Smith says:

    As the BIG CITY LT said it might not be used 99% of the time, but what about the 1% time that it is used as the fire at the Ocean Palm Villas in FB proved every bit of there worth. People that are not involved and are lucky enough to NEVER have a serious problem in their lives that do not need the FIRE DEPT for anything are the ones who complain about the trucks running up and down the roads NOT having a clue whats going on on the other end of the lights and sirens. They do not care as long as it does not involve them, its their tax money that their mad about. That 1% is coming to Palm Coast so they will be ready when it does. Its a nice truck Mike. There is always a BIG CITY FIREFIGHTER OR A BIG CITY COP letting us know how they did it in the BIG CITY, Hello!!!!!!!!!!! this is not the BIG CITY.

  9. Kip Durocher says:

    Citizen points out exactly what I was told by people who were at the Ocean Palms fire. They told me the only reason the buildings on either side were saved was the pumping capicity of the new truck. These people were not firemen but their occupation lends them to be at just about all the large fires in Flagler Beach and they knew the ability of the other pumper we have at FB. But our commish got a great deal on an excellent used truck and the Flagler Beach Firemen and volunteers made it shine and look better than a new truck for several hundred thousand less. All accomplished in spite of the obstructionism of our ½ time commissioner who needs to go.

  10. JoeA2003 says:

    Poor tax payer. That is perhaps the stupidest and most self centered comment I have ever seen. I need not comment more for you are just too dumb to comprehend. Remember to breathe!

  11. C.Zossima says:

    Flagler Beach spent 0ne million dollars of ARRA funds on a sidewalk. Nobody can find the sidewalk. Who is willing to investigate the theft?

  12. John Smith says:

    Zossima you know it is not on South Daytona in front of the fish market or Pizza place. They just spent the money for all the road work and made parallel parking spots and a side walk around the farmers market. It seems they do not have to park parallel Just drive on the side walk and have their cars sticking out in the street blocking traffic. Check it out thats where your side went too.

  13. NortonSmitty says:

    What’s really amazing is that with all of the congestion around the farmers market, the architect obviously never visited it or or if he did, never took this into consideration. It looks to me that we just spent over $1 million dollars to cut the number of parking spaces in half. In addition, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting this weekly Chinese fire drill (I recommend walking), it’s was always worth the trip to watch the elderly and non-driving old hippie patrons study the parking spaces from the middle of the intersection for two or three minutes before deciding how many times they were going to back in and out of the old angled spaces. And a few more to make the always critical decision of just how much of the car to leave out to block the street.

    With the brilliant design of the new parallel parking, where each space is way to big for just one car but a little too small to fit two, I can’t wait to watch these mechanically challenged, bargain hunting Vegans finally master the art of on-street parallel parking. It’s going to be more fun that a trip to the monkey house!

    I’m going to run out and purchase all the stock I can afford in the company that manufactures Bondo. For the first time I’m thinking like a Tea Partier. Maybe Government can’t do anything right!

    Oh, my God, I need a drink!

  14. Liana G says:

    So where is this white elephant housed. I can’t wait to see it.
    Here’s a thought, when I lived in Weston, FL, during the month /week of December the fire trucks would drive through the neighbouthoods all decked out and ringing bells, and everyone would rush outside to see. I should also point out that ALL the neighbourhoods in Weston are/were gated. Very nostalgic and warming. Maybe PC can do something like this with this white elephant during the holidays – then maybe citizens would become partial to it. Just a thought.

  15. John Smith says:

    Liana Do yourself a favor, go and visit your fire house, see whats there, visit with the people that will save your life someday. WAIT A MINUTE YOU SOUND LIKE YOU DO NOT NEED these GUYS an Gals. You might be part of the 1% that needs it the white elephant as you speak.

  16. NortonSmitty says:

    I wonder if they’re going to scramble the new wonder wagon every time somebody sprains an ankle and dials 911 or to every fender bender so they can pad their statistics. Just like they do with the rest of our equipment, it will be used to justify their outrageous budget and the hiring of more firefighters. Remember this John when you get your property tax bill your paying through the nose for that pretty red trucky.

    $1,000,000.00 (that’s ONE MILLION DOLLARS) is obscene for a redundant piece of equipment when our schools, libraries and shelters are so underfunded and budgets are stretched in these times.

  17. Liana G says:

    Thank you Norton Smitty. PC could use more good citizens like yourself.

  18. Liana G says:

    John Smith – when I get trapped on the 10th floor of a building in PC and need THIS white elephant then I’ll no longer refer to it as a white elephant, just an expensive work horse.

  19. Upset says:

    Liana G- Please inform me where this “10 story building” is in Palm Coast? As I recall the majority of high rise buildings are on beachside where there are already two ladder truck covering the entire area. Even IF the hospital increases in size the ladder at the Town Center Station would cover that. So where is the need for this new truck.

    A agree that this million dollar truck is over kill. The fire department does not adequately utilize the new ladder truck they already have at the Town Center station. Does a ladder truck really need to respond to medical calls because that is the how it is utilized. I guess we as tax payers will just keep paying for this fancy equipment that will sit in a station and “look” pretty.

  20. Chuck says:

    Yes $1,000,000 sounds like a huge investment, but let’s keep in mind these trucks can last for 25 or more years. And in the next 25 years that truck will more than pay for itself. These are the types of expenditures I don’t mind and once someone needs it they will certainly appreciate it as well.

  21. Wow says:

    “Wow” – Thats the only word that comes to mind when I read this discussion. There are so many things in this country that are purchased “just in case”. The only thing that matters is when that time comes to save “YOUR” sorry butts. One day you will be eating your words when this comes to your rescue. You may not live in a huge high rise structure, but if you think that over the next 25 years there will not be some built, you are mistaken. To only think of yourself, and not your neighbors homes and lives, shows that you are selfish. Take a look at yourself in the mirror, and re-think your comments because I am for whatever will save my property and if need be LIFE. So Chief go ahead and buy a fire truck for every street, “JUST IN CASE!!!”.

  22. chase rogers says:

    that is a very nice truck. i am glad to know that the palm harbor area just got alot safer. thank you palm coast fire dept.

  23. At it Again says:

    Where do these people think we live? Jacksonville or Orlando?

    I don’t care if it was ordered two years ago, the economy was already going downhill. Our Fire Chief has an ego that must be constantly fed with fire trucks, new fire houses or new toys for him to play with.

    Coming from an entire family of fire fighters, when I tell them what they are doing in this city and county, they can’t beleive it. Not for a city/county this size.

    Did you looked at used trucks or leasing option like a lot of other dept’s do?

    The fire chief and City Manager should get together. They are both good at waisting our money. Maybe the new truck is to be able to handle the new city hall building that Landon is forcing on us.

Leave a Reply

Read FlaglerLive's Comment Policy | Subscribe to the Comment Feed rss flaglerlive comment feed rss

More stories on FlaglerLive


suppert flaglerlive flagler live palm coast flagler county news pierre tristam florida
news service of florida

Recent Comments

Subscribe to FlaglerLive

Get immediate notification of new stories.

Log in
| FlaglerLive, P.O. Box 354263, Palm Coast, FL 32135-4263 | 386/586-0257