Conquering the hard stuff
Firefighting is not for the faint-hearted. The correct vehicle makes it just a little bit easier to take on the roughest of terrain.
The conventional fire truck can do a lot of things. The Astra HD8 4×4 fire truck can do everything – from climbing steep embankments to driving over the roughest terrain. You name it and the truck can do it.
Marcé Fire Fighting Technology has been designing and building fire trucks for the past ten years. The company, owned by Danielle Steyn, went into partnership with Andrea Ceccarelli managing director of Autumn Star Trading, importer of Astra Heavy Duty Trucks. A fire truck was born that has raised the bar in terms of technology. The chassis is designed by Astra trucks in Italy, and further design and assembly is done in South Africa by a company located in the heart of Midrand.
The Astra HD8 4×4 fire truck, dubbed “Mufasa”, is a short behemoth utility vehicle built solely for firefighting and off-road purposes and is equipped with all the bells and whistles you can think of. It has rear-mounted normal and high pressure multistage pump for fire fighting and off road use, with normal pressure at 2 000 litres/min at 10 bar and a high pressure pump at 400 litres/min at 40 bar with the option of increasing to 4 000 litres/min.
This vehicle can hold up to 6 000 litres of water and up to 1 000 litres of foam. Hose reels can stretch up to 30 m with axial feed, an electric rewind system, complete with high-pressure nozzle and foam tube. The single cab seats two people in the cabin, and Marcé fitted two jump seats on the walking decks to allow for two more fire fighters to do fire fighting whilst the vehicle is in motion.
Further features include spray nozzles fitted to the top and lower edge of the vehicle that help if the vehicle is entering the scene of a fire and needs to reach those hard-to-reach areas. Press a button and the winch fitted to a heavy-duty bull bar comes to life. The all-round protection bars ensures that the unit can be used in rough terrain.
But how will this fire truck carry all the weight? The master minds at IVECO designed an engine that complements the HD8. Fitted with a turbo intercooler Euro 3 diesel injection/cycle delivering 324 kW at 1 900 r/ min and 2 100 Nm at 1 000-1 440 r/ min, power travels via a 16-speed ZF transmission system to all four wheels. This enables firefighters to get the truck to the heart of the fire, allowing them to kill the fire from the root instead of dragging hoses across a field. Using 1400R20, 5 156/150 K single tubeless tyres at the front and 1400R20, 5 156/150 K Twin tubeless tyres at the rear, the driver will have no problem keeping Mufasa on the hard stuff.
Former firefighter Jaco van der Merwe, now sales and marketing manager at Marcé, comments on the unusual length of the fire truck. “Manoeuvrability was our main focus when we designed this vehicle. It makes the job easier for fire fighters when dealing with hard to reach areas where accessibility is crucial.”
According to Van der Merwe, Marcé produces on average five trucks per month and 68 trucks per year.
The partnership between Astra Heavy Duty Trucks and Marcé has proven to be extremely successful. With each party focusing on what they do best and then bringing that all together to complete a true fire fighting vehicle is a sign that the art of automotive engineering is greatly respected and appreciated, with an ultimate goal of preserving property and saving lives.