At Avalon the Aviation Rescue and Fire Service bought out their Rosenbauer all-wheel drive fire engine.
Leigh Schepisi, one of the services officers, says there are 130 identical units based at 26 sites all around Australia. The only two exceptions are two 4x4s based on Hamilton Island.
These are big units, carrying 8900 litres of water, 1300 litres of foam and 50kg of dry chemical powder. The units are built in Germany on an American chassis with a Detroit Diesel Series 60 powering it.
“It’s able to travel at 120km/h, with 610hp,” Leigh says. “She gets up and goes.”
He explains that the Rosenbauers are purpose built for aircraft and large fuel fires, and are all tertian vehicles as aircraft don’t usually crash on runways. The units are roadworthy and at Avalon they have a memorandum of understanding with Shell that if they have a major fuel fire, Avalon’s trucks will assist.
During the Hazelwood Mine fires, the boys spent four weeks there playing a big part in helping to extinguish the fire.
Aviation Rescue and Fire Service officers, from left, Andrew Tonkin, Leigh Schepisi and Geoff Davies
The Wettenhalls’ team, from left, Aaron Mathisen, Zack Rogerson, Dale McLaren, Raymond Cole, Leon Cole, Graham Welsh, Jody Causon, James McConnell, Jai Winfield, Phil Garrett, Michael Neale, Joshua Graham with his daughter Isla
The convoy heads north along the Princes Highway