Clint Baker of Baker Fabrication brings his creative designs to aid firefighters by ensuring the ease and efficiency of hose retrieval. His innovative retrieval system that drains, loads and flattens up to 1,000 feet of large-diameter fire hose in less than 15 minutes goes by an unpretentious moniker – “Hose Mule.” Likewise, his latest invention, a 14-foot-long, five-foot wide motorized cart that allows a firefighter to singlehandedly collect up to 600 feet of five-inch to 7¼–inch diameter hose puts all its inspiration into the design, not some snazzy title. Baker has dubbed it the “Hose Cart.”
“I just try to make it simple,” Baker said.
Both the Hose Mule and Hose Cart address the fire service’s most aggravating chore. Whereas large diameter hose is the most efficient way to move big water at a fire scene, nobody enjoys draining and loading as much as a half mile of it after an exhausting fire.
Hose Mule mounts on the side of a fire truck above the hose bed. Its rollers grip the deployed hose, lifting and draining it, then loading it back into the fire truck. Firefighters fold it into place in the hose bed without risk of strained muscles or injured backs.
But sometimes the situation is complicated by multiple hose lays crisscrossing the fire scene. Tracing a single line through the resulting maze calls for a retrieval system more agile than a bulky fire truck, Baker said.
“You can be left with a street full of hoses,” Baker said. “It can be pretty congested trying to get in there with an apparatus and pick out a single line.”
His solution involves mounting the Hose Mule on a hydraulically-driven motorized cart operated by a firefighter walking behind it. The device is light enough to weave its way across other hose lines without damaging them.
“The concept is that it can negotiate a tight area blocked by monitors and pumps,” Baker said.
The hose is lifted, drained and then delivered into the cart to be transferred later to the fire truck, he said.
“You turn the Hose Mule around and power feed the hose out of the basket and into the hands of the crews folding it into the fire truck hose bed,” Baker said.
The Hose Cart can also be used to lay an extra line that has to cross others already in place without driving a fire truck across charged lines. The device has been tested for use on inclines and downgrades.
“As far as engine power, the customer has a choice of either a gasoline or diesel engine,” Baker said. “Diesel engines seem to be the preference in the oil industry.”
The Hose Cart can be built to the specifications of the customer, adding whatever size hose basket necessary. Accessories such as an LED lighting package are also available.
The Hose Cart got a warm reception from firefighters when it was on display during the 54th annual Industrial Fire School at Brayton Fire Training Field in Texas last July, Baker said.
“They saw the way that it would benefit them,” he said.
Baker is a career firefighter with the Temple, TX, Fire Department who has held the rank of driver for the last nine years. Assigned to Station #3, Baker drives either Engine-3 or Rescue-3, the department’s heavy rescue/hazmat truck.
He holds several patents as the inventor of Baker Fabrication products that can retrieve fire hose in sizes from five inches to 12-inches in diameter.