Croatia — Hook-and-ladder trucks may be the heroes of the road, but they are not known for their maneuverability. That’s what makes the Mercedes-Benz Unimog U 20 fire-fighting vehicle such a jaw-dropper. With a short wheelbase and the turning circle of a midsize car, it can easily negotiate steps, narrow streets and trackless terrain, said Mercedes-Benz as it rolled out its first Unimog firefighter earlier this week.
Such a vehicle is critical in this part of the world, where medieval streets make it difficult for firefighters and their equipment to get access to historic parts of town.
“Its principal fields of use are firefighting forest-fire fighting in particular disaster intervention, expeditions as well as servicing and maintenance jobs in difficult-to-reach places,” said Mercedes-Benz in a statement.
The new firefighting Unimog was deployed here as a tank water tender. It is equipped with a 150-horsepower four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, said the automaker. The vehicle’s centrifugal fire pump is powered by the engine. It also is equipped with differential locks at the front and rear and permanent all-wheel drive, which Mercedes-Benz says makes it suitable for fighting forest fires in trackless terrain.
The Unimog U 20 firefighter has a short wheelbase of 106.3 inches and a turning circle of 41.3 feet. The three Unimog model ranges are all available for firefighting duty, said the German automaker.