Any Ford in a storm

Not all con­cepts are mere eye candy

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels -

Hous­ton Rodeo. Just af­ter that event, the fire depart­ment in Ar­ling­ton, 430km to the north, called for help re­spond­ing to a se­ries of twis­ters that tore through the re­gion.

A call went out to News­cope and soon vice-pres­i­dent Brad Sny­der and an off­sider were driv­ing the spe­cial pick-up into the heart of the dev­as­ta­tion, to a nurs­ing home that had borne the brunt of a tor­nado.

‘‘ We were scared when we took it out there, be­cause it had never been driven more than three miles,’’ Sny­der told The New York Times. ‘‘ It came through with fly­ing colours.’’

The F-550 was said to be es­pe­cially use­ful as it could get into spa­ces too small for con­ven­tional fire trucks.

Some of its cool fea­tures also came in handy. These in­clude a tower than can ex­tend to 11 me­tres and use ther­mal imag­ing to check for heat sources up to 2.4km away, as well as an el­e­vated nightvi­sion cam­era.

It also has an 1135L water tank, two pumps and a pow­er­ful winch. An ar­ray of pow­er­ful lights, in­clud­ing 113 LEDS, al­lowed the crew to il­lu­mi­nate houses and check for any­one need­ing help.

Sny­der says the truck checked 124 houses that were so badly dam­aged they will need to be de­mol­ished. Au­thor­i­ties say about a dozen tor­na­does hit the area but there were no fa­tal­i­ties.

To the res­cue: Only in Texas could the F-550 be re­garded as a nippy firstre­spon­der

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