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South Carolina’s Orangeburg County Protects More Than 1,000 Square Miles with Fleet of Kenworth Fire Trucks


ORANGEBURG, S.C.– Gene Ball said his guys will work for peanuts. In fact, 19 vehicles and 33 firefighters did just that in responding as mutual aid to a blaze at a peanut factory in rural Cameron, S.C.

“It was a huge fire that could have been a lot worse if we hadn’t responded in time with our crew and Kenworth tankers and pumpers,” said Ball, who is director of fire services for Orangeburg County Fire District in South Carolina. “We saved some 4,000 tons of stored peanuts by shuttling water from a remote source, then pumping it onto the fire.”

Under his command are 23 fire districts that operate 35 fire stations in a region encompassing 17 towns and covering more than 1,000 square miles. His equipment fleet of 178 vehicles features 29 Kenworth medium duty trucks, including two new Kenworth T370s. Orangeburg County Fire District has specified Kenworth medium duty trucks as its chassis of choice for the past five years.

“It’s important for us to run high-quality equipment,” said Ball. “You can just tell it’s a Kenworth by the way the doors shut – they’re almost like airplane doors – very solid and airtight. The fit and finish is tremendous. We keep our fire trucks for about 20 years, so they have to hold up and be reliable performers. The Kenworths offer a great turning radius, which is important for any fire department. With more than 1,000 miles of county-maintained dirt roads, the trucks have to be able to take jarring over tough terrain.”

In addition to their reliability, Kenworth T370 fire trucks offer excellent durability with a huck-bolted aluminum cab and fiberglass roof that helps to resist corrosion more reliably than a steel cab. This long-lasting durability helps enable customers to amortize their fire truck investment over a number of years. Kenworth also provides the ability to configure the T370 to a variety of body builders and fire department requirements to meet customer needs.

According to Ball, about one-half of the county is without fire hydrants, which necessitates the need for pumpers and tankers. “The two work in concert. On big fires, we may have the tankers (which can carry up to 2,000 gallons of water), rapidly unload into our 2,500-gallon capacity drop tanks, which works like a portable pool,” Ball said. “The pumper can then suck and spray water at a rate of up to 1,000 gallons per minute, but normally they [spray] flow at about 800 gallons per minute. While the pumper is fighting the fire, the tanker races off to refill at a creek, lake or other source of water.”

For its latest Kenworth purchases, Ball had the tanker and pumper bodies fitted by Fire Equipment Services (FES). The Kenworths are an excellent choice for fire service, according to Kent Cummings, FES vice president of sales in Sumter, S.C., “As a body builder, it’s important to work with a dealer (Cherokee Kenworth) and truck manufacturer who knows what we need for the fire industry,” Cummings said. “And, Kenworth does. They configure the cross members on the frame in a manner that works well with our bodies, and the placement of the air lines and electrical helps make for faster installation. Even something like air dryer placement is important to us – having it behind the first cross member saves us a lot of time.”

And Cummings said time is money for all involved. “The end result is we can provide a better tanker and pumper to Orangeburg County and be cost effective as well.”

Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth is an industry leader in providing fuel-saving technology solutions that help increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The company’s dedication to the green fleet includes aerodynamic trucks, medium duty diesel-electric hybrids, liquefied natural gas trucks, and the Kenworth Clean Power® no-idle system. This year, Kenworth became the first truck manufacturer to receive the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Excellence award in recognition of its environmentally friendly products. In addition, Kenworth is the recipient of the 2008 J.D. Power and Associates awards for Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Over the Road and Vocational Segment Class 8 trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at Kenworth. A PACCAR Company.


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