STRONG - Firefighters from Strong Fire Company have enhanced fire protection in Mount Carmel Township by replacing an outdated fire engine.

A 1989 Pemfab, capable of pumping 2,000 gallons of water per minute, was purchased for $28,500 from DeCou Hose Company, New Jersey, and placed in-service approximately six weeks ago. It replaced a 1974 CF-Mack, which was capable of pumping 1,000 gallons per minute.

Firefighters said the PemFab, though used, is much safer to drive than the Mack. Safety additions of the new engine include an enclosed 10-man cab with seat belts and an automatic transmission, both of which the Mack did not have.

Onboard equipment has also been greatly improved. The engine includes a 4-inch pre-pipe deck gun, adjustable light towers, movable ladder rack, LED emergency lights and a 70-gallon foam system.

Performed well

Although the engine was recently purchased, firefighters have already used the engine at two major fires.

The first fire was June 17 at the former St. Mary's Roman Catholic School in Marion Heights. Firefighters used the engine's pump to draw water from a hydrant, which was then sent hundreds of feet up a steep incline on Marion Heights Highway to a Kulpmont engine. The Kulpmont engine then sent the water to a ladder truck.

Firefighters said their pump - one of the largest in the county - was used to maintain pressure in the line.

The second fire was Sunday in Locust Gap. Firefighters used water from the engine's onboard tank and also from an Aristes tanker to supply a hose line connected to the engine.

Both times the engine performed well, firefighters said.

Fourth generation

The Pemfab is only the fourth engine in the company's history.

The first motorized piece of apparatus was a General Motors engine purchased Feb. 6, 1946. It was used for calls until 1975, when a 1955 Maxim was purchased from Ashland Fire Department.

The Maxim was replaced by the Mack, which was bought in 2000 from South Amboy Fire Department in New Jersey.

The Mack still belongs to the fire company, but will be housed in the Schuylkill Historical Fire Society, in Shenandoah, and used for community events.