“Putting our fire crews onto the roof of a burning building to make a hole to vent dangerous gases is not only very strenuous work but also extremely hazardous,” says Sven-Olov Hansson, deputy fire chief in Sundsvall-Timrå. “Now we can carry out the operation more safely, more efficiently and faster.”

Traditionally, firefighters have climbed on top of the building and used handheld equipment to hack through the roof. This is dangerous work; not only are they threatened by a raging fire burning beneath them, but they must balance on slippery, sloping, roofs high above the ground.

The 6.5t deadweight crane is a Hiab XS 477 with six hydraulic extensions and an 8m Jib 100X. The HIAB XS 477 crane stretches 30m high or 26m to the side.

The crane mounts on a Multilift hooklift demountable platform and can be manoeuvred remotely by a fireman standing on an aerial work platform.

“The size of the HIAB XS 477 means it makes easy work of tackling its job on the roof of an eight-storey building,” says Hansson.

Using Hiab’s remote control to steer the crane, the fire-fighter can remain a safe distance from the blaze while manoeuvring the crane precisely and manipulating the grabber to rip away roof materials.

Although the components are standard, the configuration is not, says Hiab product management manager Bengt Söderholm. It is unusual to have a grapple at the end of a fly jib. “There is the inner boom, outer boom and jib: three joints. With this geometry, the crane can, in principle, access the other side of the building.”

When asked how he knew that the grapple would be strong enough to rip through the roof, Söderholm replies frankly: “It was just a guess. It was just a feeling that such a grapple, which weighs about 300kg, would be big enough. If you just push that load downwards, you can easily open up the roof. And with its sharp edges, it can get a grip of steel plate.”

Söderholm admits that grabbing motions at such a reach are likely to produce a lot of motion. “But a good control system can control the grapple quite well. We selected Hi-Pro, the best control system we have.”

The brigade is also planning to use the crane for other jobs. “We can also use the HIAB XS 477 to tackle dealing with roofing materials damaged in storms, extra large road signs that have blown down or to move large trees that have fallen across a road,” says deputy fire chief Hansson.

The crane takes a bite The crane takes a bite Hiab firefighting loader XS 477 with grab Hiab firefighting loader XS 477 with grab The loader approaches a roof The loader approaches a roof With the fly jib, the loader has three corners, so it can potentially go around the other side of a building
Hiab firefighting loader