A Very Special Fire Truck - Wacker Chemie AG


A Very Special Fire Truck

It had to be something very unique which is why Peter Wasch from the WACKER fire department in Nünchritz only ever considered one vehicle: ALF, the department’s turbo extinguisher. Wasch searched the Internet and found that in fact, to date, no model of ALF existed. No one had yet come up with the idea of building a model of the largest and most attractive WACKER fire truck.

Firefighter Peter Wasch invested 600 hours building a faithful and fully operational copy of his department’s ALF turbo extinguisher.

Peter Wasch had long been interested in model building, but only the theoretical side. However, in February 2013, the 30-year-old firefighter decided to take the plunge and build a model of ALF, true to the original and fully operational. At that time, Wasch had no idea what he was getting into. The easiest part was building the basic structure out of polystyrene because it is not difficult to work with. After about two months, he had completed the shell; however, this is where the project began to get tricky.

As Wasch quickly discovered, the main problem was the turbines. The original ALF is equipped with two airplane turbines that enable up to 8,000 liters of water per minute to be finely sprayed over a distance of up to 250 meters. Wasch built two electro turbines into his ALF at a scale of 1:15. Designing water-resistant electronics, the pumps and the suspension also required great ingenuity – he took apart a blood pressure measuring device and used the pump from it in his model.

Sometimes ideas on how to solve a certain problem would come to him in the middle of the night – then he would get up and begin to draw, sometimes even hammer and saw. “My girlfriend,” he says looking back “had it tough during this phase, luckily she is very tolerant and understands my time-consuming hobby.” Roughly 600 hours later and after expenditure of about €4,000 on materials, Wasch’s ALF model gleams in full splendor in November 2013, measuring 80 cm in length, 30 cm in width and 30 cm in height.

It didn’t take long for the first inquiries to arrive, asking if Wasch was interested in selling his unique ALF model. He declined. “I have invested too much of my own blood, sweat and tears in this project,” he said. But he is happy to loan ALF out for an exhibition at the local model building club.

Peter Wasch is a firefighter through and through. It’s in his blood, after all, his father was a firefighter with the WACKER plant fire department, and his entire family were members of the volunteer fire department in Riesa-Gröba. Nevertheless, he asserts the next model he builds will not have anything to do with firefighting. He has a number of ideas, but is giving nothing away. But this much he will say: “It will be another vehicle. And of course it will have to be something very unique.“