Al Maktoum Bridge Road and Clocktower photographed from Deira Fire Station circa 1970.
Photo by T J White of Texas
Port Rashid was about to open. They didn't want to have their own Port Fire Brigade. But they had money! Dubai's Fire Brigade didn't have any money. They didn't have much fire fighting equipment either but with a growing Dubai they needed new equipment! So a deal was struck. Port Rashid buys the fire equipment Dubai's Fire Brigade wants. Dubai's Fire Brigade provides a fire fighting service Port Rashid needs.
Dubai's Fire Chief was asked what equipment he wanted. Asking a Fireman what he wants is equivalent to asking a child what they want from the Toy Shop! Everything! The list was long.The Fire Chief emphasised a High Expansion Foam Generator was essential. These fight fires in inaccessible areas such as mines, basements, tunnels, warehouses and maybe ships. Dubai didn't have mines, basements, or tunnels in 1971 but who knew what the future may bring?!
Months later the equipment was delivered. Several weeks after that Port Rashid's people were invited to a fire equipment demonstration the next day, 3pm Deira Fire Station alongside the Al Maktoum Bridge Road. The Fire Chief introduced the afternoon's events. Soon firemen were enthusiastically demonstrating their new fire engines, power saws, breathing apparatus and all the things Firemen use to fight fires - except the High Expansion Foam Generator. That was saved until last. It was the Fire Chief's pride and joy.
He gave the order to start the High Expansion Foam Generator. Large volumes of foam quickly flowed across the sand surrounding the Fire Station. It began flowing into the Fire Station until it hit the Fire Station's back wall. Its horizontal progress was halted. Instead it flowed upwards quickly submerging the fire engines parked in the Fire Station in a blanket of foam. The Firemen started to run into the Fire Station disappearing into the ever growing foam as they did so. Occasionally an arm appeared out of the foam and waved. The Firemen discovered foam was fun!. Soon all the Firemen were running in and out of the foam with an obvious enjoyment. The Fire Chief ordered the HE Foam Generator to be shut down.
Then the wind direction changed! Slowly this vast blanket of foam began to move in the opposite direction and make its way out of the Fire Station. It drifted across the 80 or so meters of sand onto the Al Maktoum Bridge Road. Dubai's Drivers have always expected to meet the unexpected on Dubai's roads. None will have expected to encounter a metre deep blanket of high expansion foam covering the entire width of the road and more. Traffic came to a halt! There was nothing to do other than wait for the wind to break up the foam blanket. High expansion foam is designed to last for at least an hour!
Think this story is an exaggeration? Watch this video. See what a High Expansion Foam Generator can do !!!!!!!!!