One person’s trash can is another person’s fire hose retrieval system. Lorena, TX-based Baker Fabrications’ latest twist on its patented Hose Mule hose retrieval system uses 20-foot-long, eight-foot-wide dumpsters as hose containers.
Combined with a roll-off type truck typical of the Hose Mule system, this new adaptation using dumpsters is already in use by industrial responders at the Marathon refinery in Texas City, TX, said Clint Baker, owner of Baker Fabrication, the makers of Hose Mule.
“Basically, it’s just a much larger version of what we’ve been selling,” Baker said. “The previous models handled five-inch and 7¼-inch diameter hose. This new one will handle large diameter hose measuring up to a 12-inch diameter.”
The Hose Mule system drains and loads fire hose in one operation. In the past, exhausted firefighters struggled after a fire to retrieve large diameter hose. Using Hose Mule, the hose is simply fed through the mobile system atop the truck cab and guided into the hose bed.
“Twelve-inch hose weighs three pounds a foot,” Baker said. “When you talk about laying a mile of this stuff in 500-foot sections, that’s a lot of work.”
Hydraulic powered, the LayFlat system retrieves all sizes up to 12-inch diameter at a rate of 100 feet per minute. Trailers used as hose beds are custom built to match the needs of the customer.
Instead of a trailer, the Marathon system simultaneously conveys hose into an eight-foot-deep dumpster that rides on the truck. Divided into three compartments, each one can hold up to 1,500 feet of 12-inch hose for a total of 4,500 feet per dumpster.
The entire system can be operated by three people – a driver, an operator for the Hose Mule and an assistant guiding the hose into the dumpster. The hose is all mechanically loaded.
Once a dumpster is full, it can be quickly replaced with an empty one.
The system designed for Marathon was sold for Baker Fabrication by David Garrison through Williams Fire & Hazard Control.
Baker’s LayFlat system is only one of three available versions of the Hose Mule. The system for five-inch hose uses a 12- or 24-volt electric motor. The version that handles up to eight-inch hose can be powered electrically or hydraulically.
Beside its use in firefighting, Baker said the new LayFlat system is generating a lot of interest from companies involved in hydraulic fracturing operations.
“These folks may need to move water from as much as five miles away to their drilling location,” Baker said. “Retrieving that much hose by hand can be a man killer.”