Desert Fruit fire wagon to battle blazes in Ariamsvlei settlement and surrounding farms
The date producer in the Karasburg district, Desert Fruit, took its water truck and converted it into a fire wagon, then also deployed it for fire fighting on other farms and in the nearby Ariamsvlei settlement.
Desert Fruit’s workshop supervisor, Jakes Awaseb, said the conversion was a challenge but through a number of innovative modification, they successfully transformed a former construction vehicle into a capable fire fighting machine. The truck with off-road capability, has been fitted with two fire hoses driven by hydraulic pumps. The truck carries 18,000 litres of water at a time.
After a demonstration of what the fire wagon can do, Karas Regional Councillor Dennis Coetzee praised Desert Fruit saying “It is indeed a good initiative taken by the management of Desert Fruit to come up with such a truck, built and equipped by themselves. This truck will ease the task of extinguishing fire on the Komsberg and Desert Fruit farms respectively. The gesture of even availing the truck when a fire occurs in the Ariamsvlei settlement about 60 km from there and surrounding farms is also much appreciated.”
Desert Fruit Managing Director, Seth Holmes gave some background to the project. “Initially the truck was intended to be used at our farm in the event of trees, houses or buildings catching fire, but we became aware that since 2015, the local community has suffered a number of fires which have completely destroyed houses and even caused some injuries. This is not acceptable and as a small remote farming community we need to support each other, assist the government where we can and work together to ensure that we all live well,” he said.
Looking at his handiwork, Awaseb commented: “The project was an ideal opportunity to showcase great workmanship and involved local skills assisting with the execution of the conversion. Furthermore, the workshop apprentices learned a great deal from this project.”
Desert Fruit is the only date producer in the southern hemisphere that grows and markets specialty varieties like Zamli, Khallas and Barhi. The farms has 22,000 trees in production attended by a combined 450 employees on a permanent and a seasonal basis.
Caption: Karas Councillor Dennis Coetzee (centre left) congratulating Jakes Awaseb (centre right) on the splendid work to convert the truck behind them from a construction vehicle to a fire wagon. The truck’s impressive capability was demonstrated earlier this week to leaders of the local communities and to officials of the Ariamsvlei municipality. Witnessing the occasion were Georg Mostert, Hango Tobias, Shiita Tjunda, Vincent Vries, John Lee Pietersen and Desert Fruit Managing Director, Seth Holmes.