Before fire trucks were invented, pumps were towed to fires by horses, to be used to extinguish the fire. According to Auto Evolution, the first steam-powered fire engine made its debut all the way back in 1841, but it didn’t become widely used until a few decades later. Mack Truck was not the first, but rather the first well-known manufacturers of fire trucks, and are still produced to this very day.
By the 1930s, buildings were starting to grow taller, which meant better equipment would be required to fight fires. The introduction of ladders that were mounted to turntables on the trucks that came in response to taller buildings.
By World War II, fire trucks had evolved with an aerial work platform, which is essentially a giant mechanical arm that is equipped with a bucket at the end and is still found on trucks today.
Today there are countless companies out there that manufacture fire trucks and all other kinds of specialized equipment needed to fight fires and respond to accidents of all sorts of shapes and sizes. Most fire departments have multiple trucks at their disposal, depending on the type of fire that they will be responding to, all of which have a very specific job that is required of them in order to fight fires, both safely and in a timely manner. Here are 25 fire trucks that no one expects to see responding to a fire.
25 Bronto: For Skyscrapers
It only makes sense that larger cities require different equipment to fight fires. In cities like New York where there are countless skyscrapers, a truck that is able to reach those top floors is needed.
According to their official website, the Bronto Sky Lift is an aerial fire truck that is used to do just that. The platform is large enough to hold four people and gear, and can reach 33 stories, making it the “world’s highest truck-mounted platform with a rescue height of 112 meters.”
24 The Fastest Fire Engine is the jet-powered Hawaiian Eagle
Up next on the list is one fast truck. According to Guinness World Records official website, the Hawaiian Eagle is the fastest fire truck in the world. The 1940 truck is powered by a pair of Rolls Royce Viper engines, each one is capable of making 6,000 hp!
The record was broken over two decades ago on July 11th, 1998 when the Hawaiian Eagle hit a clocked speed of 407 mph. This truck is sure to get to any fire the fastest!
23 Long Load
This extra-long fire truck is one of the longest ones that are made. According to Pierce Manufacturing, the Ascendant 107’ Tiller Heavy-Duty Ariel Ladder is unlike anything the company has ever built in its 140 years of existence.
The tractor-drawn aerial ladder truck makes it easier to get into tight places that cities have, while still having plenty of reach to get to the tall buildings. The first truck was purchased by Tuscaloosa Fire Department last year and was set to honor their former fire chief.
22 Fire Quad
Ranger, four wheelers, and other ATVs are often a part of a fire department when in more remote and rural areas. Polaris makes Fire Fighting Kits that turn their Rangers into a vehicle that is specifically used to fire and rescue missions.
The kit includes a water tank, hoses, pump system and foam system to help get firefighters to places full sized trucks would not be able to get to. The kits are fully customizable, and they also make kits more specific for rescuing people rather than fighting fires.
21 Fire Plane
Helicopters are often used to help fight fires from the sky, but planes are now commonly used as well. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are many different types of planes that can aid in fighting fires from the air.
The smallest planes used can still carry up to 800 gallons of flame retardant, while the biggest ones can carry up to 8,000. Some planes are designed to collect water by skimming it from a body of water or even in some cases pools in people’s backyards.
20 JDM Tanker
Those in Japan are known to do their own things in the car world, set their own trends that the rest of the world will usually follow. One trend that they have managed to keep their own are the Kei cars.
According to Integrity Exports, this fire truck is actually a converted Kei truck. This mini-pumper is the smallest fire truck in Japan and is able to pump out 900-liter of water per minute. The truck makes it easier to respond to fires due to the very narrow roads often found in Japan.
19 Mini Tanker
This mini-pumper truck was posted to a blog, the owner spotted it at the Tokyo Good Design Expo back in 2012. The Shoshin Speed Sprayer 3S-FSC6ooTL was on display and the blogger thought it was one of the world’s smallest firetrucks he had ever seen.
After doing some further research, the Shoshin Speed Sprayer is actually an orchard sprayer that is used to spraying out in the fields. At the end of the day, it could very well be used as a fire truck if needed.
18 Fast Fire
When it comes to fighting fires on a much bigger scales, like an airplane, for instance, special equipment is needed to help make sure they are able to do so in a timely and efficient manner.
The all-terrain and all-weather Colet K/15 Jaguar is built to do just that. According to their official website, the Colet K/15 Jaguar is a machine that is built to perform like no other, and is the “fastest and most advanced crash vehicles ever made.”
17 Black Out
Like mentioned earlier, fire trucks are now coming in colors other than red due to studies that it may be safer. This fire truck, along with many others were painted black in a response to a pension reform bill that took place in Canada. According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 150 of the 200 firetrucks that the city-owned were completely painted black.
The mayor said the firefighters were entitled to their right to protest, but they are not allowed to disrespect the equipment and asked for the trucks to be washed immediately.
16 Duck Engine
According to Global Security, the Lighter Amphibian Resupply Cargo (LARCV) is the smaller truck The Milwaukee Fire Department once had - one of these LARCV’s is a part of their fleet and was used to respond to fire and accidents on the water.
This LARCV is no longer an actively used vehicle, but rather a showpiece that is on display at shows and fundraisers. These vehicles are no longer being manufactured but a few are still currently used.
15 Amphibious Engine
This Jeep has been converted to be completely amphibious to help to make fighting fires on the water that much easier. According to Water Car, the company that manufactures the amphibious Jeeps, their vehicles are the fastest amphibious vehicles in the world, capable of going 65 mph on land and 45 mph on water.
You can take the Jeep from driving to boating in just three seconds! The Jeep can pump up to 1,050 gallons per minute with virtually an endless tank if it is submerged in a body of water.
14 Grand Central Brigade
New York City’s, Grand Central Station is the world’s biggest train terminal, so it only makes sense that it has its own fire station located inside the station.
According to The Drive, The Grand Central Brigade was established back in the 80s to cover the 49 acres of acres that the terminal covers. The brigade includes a fleet of custom vehicles that are about the size of a golf cart, equipped with the proper equipment needed to fight a fire.
13 Fanciest Fire Truck
According to Jalponik, this Rolls Royce Phantom II was once an active fire truck, and was drafted into service back all the way back in 1930. According to Hemmings, there is currently a similar Rolls Royce, that not a fire truck, scheduled to be auctioned off at the end of this month at RM Sotheby’s famous car auction that will be held in Phoenix, Arizona.
There is no reserve on the Phantom II, but the listing estimates the car to go for anywhere to $175,000 to $225,000.
It’s not unheard of that a fire department would have a snowmobile as a part of their fleet, especially if it is in an area that is known for getting heavy amounts of snow or has a ski resort in their district.
This fire truck that has been fitted with snowmobile tracks is stationed at Mercado Station located in Antarctica. According to Slate, the research center is located in the largest desert in the world, and considering how dry it is, luckily it doesn’t seem as cold as it really is.
11 Monster Fire Truck
Believe it or not, this truck is a part of Virginia Beach Fire Department’s fleet. According to Fire Engineering, the monster truck is owned by the city, as it was made from donated parts and labor as a collaboration between the city of Virginia Beach, Virginia Natural Gas, and the school system.
No tax dollars were used on this project and many companies chipped in to make it happen. The truck was built with the intention to educate children about fire safety.
10 Fire Chopper
Helicopters can be vital pieces of equipment that can help out in tricky rescue situations, being able to lift people to safety when other pieces of equipment aren’t able to reach certain areas.
CAL FIRE air program includes over 50 pieced of equipment that they currently use making them the largest aerial firefighting equipment company. According to their official website, air tankers have been successfully used since the 50s, and over the years have continued to improve on their equipment.
9 Water missile
The next firetruck on the list takes a bit of a different approach when it comes to fighting fires. According to Jalponik, the “Implus- 2M” is technically a tank, one that was once used in battles, which has a 50-round rocket launcher strapped to the top of it.
The rocket launcher is used by shooting flame retardant ammunition at the fire to help extinguish it, rather than foam or water that is traditionally used. Like they say sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.
8 Mellow Yellow
Fire trucks are traditionally red, but more and more colors have been used to mark these emergency responding vehicles. Yellow and bright green are now common colors on firetrucks, and it’s for a reason. According to the American Psychology Association, a study showed that yellow-lime vehicles are half as likely to be involved in an accident than a red or a white emergency vehicle.
Furthermore, when a yellow-lime vehicle was in an accident, the damage and injuries were significantly less than red or white vehicles.
7 Hummer Fire Truck
Firefighters have to respond to all types of fires, in all different types of terrain and weather. This HUMVEE brush truck is the ultimate off-road firetruck that helps to make fighting forest fires just a bit easier.
According to Global Emergency Vehicles, this HUMVEE has a mini pumper installed, in addition to having 16” of clearance and a 6.5-liter diesel under the hood to help take its crew to places most trucks wouldn’t be able to get it to.
6 The Stinger
Next on the list is the Stinger HRET. According to Rosenbauer, the manufacturer of the Singer, HRET is short for High Reach Extendable Turret. The HRET can rotate a full 30 degrees to both the left and the right, making it capable of 60 degrees total.
The Stinger is also equipped with a piercing tool. In addition, the piercing nozzle can be fitted with a camera to give an up-close view of what’s going on. This is next level stuff most would not expect to see.
5 Rainbow Rider
This firetruck is sure to turn heads no matter where it is spotted! According to Cheshire Fire Department’s website, this fire truck was retired from their fleet as an actual emergency responding vehicle, they decided to re-purpose the truck and paint it to resemble a rainbow.
The truck is used now more as a display piece, and is often used at breast cancer awareness events as well as LBGT events and is always a favorite when it comes to the kids
4 HOT Rod
This Rat Rod isn’t an actual fire truck, but it is worth mentioning on this list. The rat rod is named “Ratified,” and it is quite an impressive build.
According to Tinman 2 Kustoms' YouTube Channel, this fire truck rat rod is made up of a 1923 Ford C-cab that is powered by a Blown 1937 392 HEMI. The car includes some custom artwork on the back of the car honoring the twin towers and the people that lost their lives during 9/11.
3 Think Pink
Up next are the trucks that you find as a part of the Heal Pink Foundation, which was founded by a retired fireman over 10 years ago by the name of Dave Graybill. While most people assume that the Heal Pink movement is about just breast cancer due to its pink color, it is actually for anyone that is undergoing any sort of disease or illness.
According to their official website, these pink trucks and their volunteers do good deeds including home deliveries of donated goods and attending fundraisers.
2 Big Wind
This monstrous machine is actually considered a fire truck as it is used to put out massive oil fires, that are notoriously known to be a tough battle for anyone to fight.
According to Motor 1, this vehicle was made by simply taking a WWII tank and strapping a massive jet engine onto it. The “Big Wind” is equipped with six hoses that make it capable of unloading 8,000 gallons of water per minute, and with the help of the jet engine, it will move that water at per a rate of 770 mph.
According to Motor 1, this is one of just two of these custom fire tankers that exists. The tanker can hold almost 900 cubic feet of water and is capable of then spraying it well over 300 feet.
The tank was built to be virtually indestructible and has the ability to help battle forest fires. Despite its massive size, the tanker is fully operational with a crew of just three members. This ride has an intimidating look to say the least.
Sources: Jalopnik, Calfire, Watercar, Motor1