||Beavertown Fire Station
||Beavertown Fire Station: 1942 converted army 4-wheel drive Ford Quad water tanker, registration number DV5148. Engine is Ford V8 3G4 1907F petrol. Pump is Wajax. Tank capacity is 36430 litres. Tare weight is 4 tons.
This tanker was originally built from a 'New Zealand pattern wheeled Carrier'. This was a World War 2 army vehicle built up by the New Zealand Railway Petone Workshops based on an Indian Army design. The chassis for these armoured vehicles were imported from Canada.
In 1944 the state Forest Service started looking for a vehicle that could be converted into a fire engine and as the Army had halted production of the Wheeled Carrier, arrangements were made for a loan of a chassis to check the suitablility of a conversion to enable a pumping unit and hose equipment to be carried. The trials were a success and a brief was given to the minister of Forestry requesting the purchase of two vehicles, one to be fitted out as a hose laying and pumping unit and the other as a tanker and pump.
After trials in Rotorua, which were reported as excellent, the Forest Service purchased seventeen vehicles for conversion into fire engines. 1945 saw nine more fire engines ordered and a further twenty-eight to be made into tankers. The contract and the budgeted cost was 977 pound per fire engine and 877 pound per tanker and went to the Colonial Motor Company of Wellington.
The Quad tankers were primarily designed to maintain and deliver water to the fire engines, but could, if necessary, deliver water directly onto a fire. PTO pumps were originally fitted to the driver's side, but were later replaced with Wajax portables mounted on the upper tank.
This example was at the Hanmer Forest until 1990 when it was driven to Blenheim via the Clarence - Upper Wairau - Rainbow route.
It has two water tanks on either side of the back. The hose pack on the roof (see image 4) is for a man to put on his back and then run trailing the hose behind him. The little pump on the roof (see image 5) is the only pump and its engine is in the back. The pump could also be used for filling the Quad's tanks from a water source, or pumping water from the Quad to another appliance. The Quad was not designed to take firemen, they would go in their own vehicles.
The full story of the Quad's arrival in Blenheim in 1948 is told in, Callout, the Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigade 1870-1995, by Don Stephens, published 1995, on page 59. To summarize: The Tamahine unloaded in daylight hours and the Quad was making a 30 kilometre journey which normally took about half an hour. The Quad arrived at Picton on the ferry, 'Tamahine' with no fuel. It 'conked' out at Koromiko, got going again only to 'conk' out again at Half-way House. A tow truck came from Blenheim and got as far as Nolan's crossing near Tua Marina. The Quad got going and then towed the tow truck, but not for long. Two more vehicles were sent from Blenheim and they towed the Quad and the tow truck to the fire station, arriving at half past midnight.