Melbourne Airport Main Fire Station - 1985
Thornycroft Nubian LFT - click here for moreRadar Hill & CSF RSR - click here for more

A major airport is a lot more than just the aircraft - it's virtually a small city in its own right and the job of providing fire protection falls to the Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) service. This photo shows the Main Fire Station (there is also a secondary one) at Melbourne/Tullamarine Airport in 1985.

In this photo, looking south-south-west, the 'Tower' at the far end of the Fire Station is the Fire Control Centre (FCC) - click here to see inside. Closer to the camera are the appliance bays.

Specialised vehicles are required to fight aircraft fires. Tenders 3 & 4, at the rear, are Ultra Large Fire Tenders (ULFT). They were approximately 26 tonnes in weight, 4WD with auto transmission, and were powered by a V8 Detroit diesel engine that also drove the pump engine via a power take-off (PTO). They carried 9,100 litres of water and 1,000 litres of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), and the pump was capable of delivering 45,000 litres per minute of produced foam through the rooftop mounted monitor or handlines. They also had 180 kg of Dry Chemical Powder (DCP) that could be delivered through a hosereel and carried a limited range of rescue equipment and Breathing Apparatus (BA) for its crew of three.

The smaller vehicle, closest to the camera, is a Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV) - click here to read more about this vehicle.

The Firefighter nearest the camera with the Ne-Pi-Ro branch is Tony McCoy and behind him is Firefighter Mick Minnetti. The silver turnout coats worn in the photo were in the process of being phased out when the shot was taken as they were simply a protective coat which, when compared to later gear, was very primitive. They were in use during the mid '70s to early '80s and were replaced with the black coat seen in the foreground. Both were used in conjunction with 3/4 length boots and the grey cotton pants shown. There have been two further changes to turnout ensemble since this photo was taken.

(Photo: CAHS collection)

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