KME Fire Apparatus is a fire apparatus manufacturer located in Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania.
KME's origins are found in an auto repair shop started by John "Sonny" Kovatch in 1946. The business grew and branched into several auto and truck related businesses, including Kovatch Mobile Equipment, which built special-purpose military vehicles and airport refueling vehicles. In 1983, Kovatch Mobile purchased fire apparatus manufacturer Car-Mar, a builder of stainless steel pumpers and tankers.
In 1985, KME Fire Apparatus was formed after Kovatch acquired some of the assets of the former Hendrickson Mobile Equipment. KME obtained and used Hendrickson's distinctive chassis. The rights to the name Hendrickson's Mobile Equipment and other parts of the assets were then sold off, hence HME. KME was producing pumpers when Aerial Ladders were added to the product line in 1987, using ladders from LTI and Fire Spire (Hahn).
In 1992, KME acquired the rights to Grumman Emergency Products' (Howe -Oren Roanoke Corp) line of aerial devices, the Aerialcat designs and manufacturing resources and other assets of the now closed division of the business. Around the same time KME also bought assets from Mack's fire apparatus manufacturing division, specifically their technology, inventory, machinery and apparatus body construction methods.
In 1997 KME purchased the Walter Motor Truck Company, thus entering into the ARFF area of fire suppression. KME offers a whole line of sole-source apparatus, including pumpers, ladder trucks, rescue/command units, wildland, tanker, industrial and airport rigs.
In April 2016, Kovatch Corporation announced the sale of its fire apparatus business to Florida-based REV Group.
KME's main operations are in Nesquehoning, but it also operates a manufacturing facility in Roanoke, Virginia. The plants in California and New York were closed in a work streamlining project undertaken post REV Group purchase.
The company builds a full line of apparatus on custom or commercial chassis. Custom chassis include the Predator, Panther and Severe Service lines. The company delivers trucks across Canada and the United States. Major customers include Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, New York City Fire Department, and Philadelphia Fire Department.
Current custom chassisEdit
- Firestix (55' or 75')
- Tuff Truck
- PRO (Pumper Rescue Operations)
- Heavy Duty
- Medium Duty
- Light Duty
- Special Service
- Wet Rescue
- Dry side
- Wet side - Legacy Series or LX Series
- Elliptical - Legacy Series or LX Series