305[w]26 GCBA 8,2/32 - Tatra 815 - Warsaw, Poland
A heavy water tanker on Tatra T815 6x6 chassis, bodywork by Karosa (former Czechoslovakia)*. The vehicle is stationed at Warsaw’s State Fire Service Fire and Rescue Unit 5 (Praga-Północ), in the centre of right-bank part of the city. The vehicle is used at larger fires for water supply. This Tatra has been with the Warsaw Fire Brigade since the late 1980s. Currently, it is manned by 2 firefighters (driver + commander), but there is enough space for a crew of 4. The main tank holds 8200 liters of water, there is also a 820-litre foam concentrate tank. The pump capacity is 3200 lpm. The equipment carried includes hoses, branches & accessories, 2 BA sets, crowbars, axes, etc. A special feature of the Tatra appliances from that period is the original Tesla siren, which has something close to a cult status among Polish fire engine fans ;)
The State Fire Service of Warsaw still use 3 of the 7 Tatras T815 acquired in the 1980s. The HQ plans to replace 2 of them with new tankers in a few months. The 4 Tatras that went out of service were handed over to volunteer fire services. One of them was given a complete overhaul (new features include a 9-tonne water tank and a cab for a crew of 6) and still sevres in Warsaw, in a volunteer unit in a suburb called Wesoła.
The predecessor of the State Fire Service Fire and Rescue Unit 5, the Unit 5 of the WSO (Warsaw Fire Brigade) was established in 1878, in a period when Poland did not exist as a state and Warsaw was the second largest city of Russia, for it was the Russian occupation zone where it ended up after the Partitions of Poland. The 19th Century units were easy to tell apart on the street, thanks to assigning horses of specific colours to each station. In addition, green banners were installed on the hand pumps and carts of Unit 5. Today, black and olive green are the official colours of the station and all its equipment is marked with them. Following the Second World War, the Warsaw Fire Brigade was constantly expanding its rescue capabilities and the Water Rescue Group was established in 1969. Station 5 was its home ever since.
The station’s vehicles are as follows:
GBAt rescue pumper
GCBA MAN heavy tanker
GCBA Tatra heavy tanker (soon to be replaced)
GCPr heavy dry powder tender
SD-30 30m (100 ft.) turntable ladder
SRw Jelcz – boat transport/diving unit
SKw – auxiliary truck
SLRr – minibus
SLOp – station officer’s car
The station also houses a few boats. Unit 5’s rescue cutter ‘Żar’ (‘Heat’) is moored at the adjacent Praga Port.
*The company Karosa does not exist anymore, but the continuity of fire appliance manufacturing tradition on Tatra chassis is being maintained by a new enterprise called THT.
Picture added on 31 October 2007