If you’re like most people, you probably have great admiration for firefighters and maybe even a healthy fascination with fire trucks. As parents, we point out the big red fire engines to our children excitedly and teach them that firefighters are “helpers.” What you may not know, however, is that at our Clear Lake and Narrows sites, Celanese owns our own fire trucks and maintains our own firefighting crews.

You may wonder why we would choose to own our own emergency equipment rather than depend on city/county firefighting capabilities. The answer is that, while we do utilize local fire and emergency crews, having our own emergency equipment on site can be a significant advantage when flammable chemicals, such as acetate, methanol and VAM are involved. When it comes to fighting chemical fires, time is critical.

The Clear Lake site took possession of their first fire truck, Ladder 1, in 1984. It was an 85-foot LTI Foam Ladder Tower on a Pierce Arrow chassis. As one of the first industrial ladder towers on the Houston Ship Channel, this truck was highly welcomed by the Channel Industries Mutual Aid (CIMA) organization, a non-profit organization combining the fire-fighting, rescue, hazardous material handling and emergency medical capabilities of the refining and petrochemical industry in the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area. The truck’s fire suppression foam capabilities were (and still are) critical to fighting chemical fires, as water may boil below the surface, sending fuel out of the contained area and spreading the fire. For this reason, foam is the primary fire-extinguishing agent for all potential hazards or areas where flammable liquids are processed.

In late 1989, the company sent the truck back to the factory for a new paint job featuring the new company colors (blue and white) and a few significant body modifications to enclose the cab and perform other safety improvements. This original truck served the Clear Lake site well until it was replaced in March of 2020 by a new Pierce Velocity cab and chassis with a 100-foot aerial platform.

The celebrated new truck features an additional 15-feet of aerial platform from the original and is painted with our signature Celanese orange and white. It boasts a 3000-gallon per minute (GPM) aerial waterway, a 500-gallon foam tank and dual hose beds with 500 feet of six-inch hose in each bed. As with Ladder 1, the new truck is not only a great source of pride at the Clear Lake site but provides even more opportunity to contain chemical fires and keep employees and facilities safe.

To learn more about both trucks, see specifications below:

1984 Pierce Arrow 85-foot LTI Ladder Tower
Pump: Waterous CM, 2-stage, 2000 GPM @150 psi
Foam concentrate: 700 gallons 
Engine: Detroit 8V-92-TA
Length: 43-foot
1500-foot, 5-inch supply line (750 ft. in each split bed)
4-200 feet, 13/4 inch pre-connects
700-foot, 3-inch
68,000 lbs. GVW
Height: 11-foot, 6 inches
Width: 8-foot; 16-foot with outriggers deployed
Horizontal Ladder Reach: 79 feet

2019 Pierce Industrial 100-foot Aerial Platform
Diesel DD13, 525 hp, 1850 lb. ft. torque
Darley ZS 3,000 GPM pump
Pierce electronic/hydraulic valve controllers/actuators
Pierce differential pressure-based flowmeters on all discharges
Pierce Husky 300 balance pressure foam system
Pierce Husky electronic/hydraulic metering valves
3,000 GPM aerial waterway
Akron Aeromaster 12 – 3,000 GPM monitor and nozzle
500-gallon foam tank
Dual hose beds for 500-feet of 6-inch hose in each bed