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This Dennis is far from being a menace

Priyanka Govindarajulu

The 1925 make is tended by the R.A. Mundkur Fire and Emergency Services Academy

— FILE PHOTO: SAMPATH KUMAR G.P.

A STUDY IN SCARLET:The Dennis pumper was gifted to the fire services by the Mysore Maharaja.

Bangalore: Some 87 years ago, when Dennis Brothers Ltd., one of the leading companies producing fire tenders in England, rolled out the shining Dennis pumper for the Mysore royal family, the company said “this pumper will rule the roads of Mysore”.

That statement in 1925 may be a bit of an exaggeration but this crimson beauty, with a lot of brass accessories, still romances the roads with its four cylinders roaring in vintage rallies.

A pioneer

The Dennis pumper, a turbine engine vehicle, was one of the first fire-fighting apparatuses delivered to the erstwhile Mysore State. Details about the second Dennis are not available. But, this one, Karnataka's oldest fire tender, is protected in the premises of the R.A. Mundkur Fire and Emergency Services Academy, a training institute of the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department, at Jayanagar in Bangalore. The vehicle is still in excellent working condition and still participates in parades, vintage rallies and government programmes.“The pumper was imported to India via Karachi from England. The then Maharaja of Mysore, who [took a shine to it], later gifted it to the Fire Department in Bangalore,” B. Ramaswamy, Regional Fire officer (Training Division), of R.A Mundkur Fire and Emergency Services Academy, told The Hindu.

The pumper's voracious appetite cost 1,000 litres of petrol to get it here from Madras! To this day, it remains the only fire tender that runs of petrol while the others use diesel. Of course, it is used for only ceremonial purposes now.

“The pumper is still in an excellent condition,” Mr. Ramaswamy said. According to the logbook details, the Dennis 1925 served the Fire Department till 1960s. The flaming beauty, bearing registration number MYD 1504, has a 200-litre water tank capacity.

It has special features like a combination of hand-held brakes as well as the usual brakes.

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