Thursday, November 13, 2008

Dennis Fire Trucks - Macau Fire Fighting Legacy

Two Dennis fire trucks with license plates- M-01-25 & M-01-27 - greet visitors at the main hall of the Macau Fire Services Museum. (Address - Estrada de Celho do Amaral, Free Admission)

The museum which still goes by its colonial namesake - Museu Dos Bombeiros - is a must for fire truck aficionados and is a mere 15 minutes walk from the Ruins of St. Paul’s.

Getting acquainted with these early 30s British-made Dennis and the fire fighting paraphernalia in the adjacent hall goes a long way to help one appreciates the early history of fire fighting in the ex-Portuguese colony.

The museum formerly Macau’s Central Fire Station served diligently from its strategic location in the heart of the Inner Harbor.

When a modern centre command facility was mooted, this fabulous European structure was saved by Macau’s pro-conservation policy. Compromise was made.

Walk pass the glass doors at the back of the museum and you enter the new Fire Brigade Headquarter with its fleet of Scania and Mercedes.

The 350 square meter museum, about the size of two basketball courts is not on Macau’s must-see list but my visit there in November 2008 was pleasantly rewarding.

Visitors can view rare footages of fire fighting and rescue missions. One section is devoted to a particular Macau social ill and how firemen rescued suicidal desperadoes from Macau’s skyscrapers.

Others may not be so lucky but my guess is gruesome photos don’t go too well in a museum dedicated to Macau’s rescue elite.

A check on the cyber provides interesting information on Macau’s Dennis.

Unless I’m wrong, I believe Dennis M-01-27 is the same Low Load 60/70HP model or popularly known as Dennis Big 6.

According to the information provided by Peter Williams, these vehicles were manufactured in Dennis Guildford factory in the 30s.
The writer adds that Dennis Big 6 fire trucks were powered by the White and Poppe 6 cylinder petrol engine and was rated at 45hp with a bore and stroke of 110 x 140mm. A Dennis No. 3, 900gpm pump is mounted at its center.

A thorough inspection will reveal that the M-01-27 has transportable aerial ladder as its choice for rear mounting to cope with Macau rising skyline. M-01-25 however spots only a wooden version.

The Museum is manned by full time members of Macau Fire Services but they lack good grasp of English. Hence, communicating with them is a challenge and a real barrier if we need information beyond the captions.

Fire fighting enthusiasts flying in and out of the Macau Airport should also look out for Rosenbauer Panther 6X6 (unit #11) - at the main runway.

The opportunity to view one of the world’s most advanced Airport Fire Fighting Vehicle is perhaps the perfect eye-opener to discover the fire fighting heritage in Macau.

1 comment:

colin125gwr said...