BearCat Manufacturer Lenco Has Made an Armored Fire Truck

Instead of a .50 caliber machine gun on its roof, the Lenco FireCat packs a 500 gallon-per-minute water cannon.

Mark McCarty/LENCO

Pittsfield, Massachusetts may be a small town in the western part of the state, but it happens to be the home of Lenco Armored Vehicles—a company that describes itself as "the nation’s leading designer and manufacture of tactical armored security vehicles.” Founded in 1981, Lenco has produced over 5,000 armored vehicles for 40 different countries. 

Lenco’s popular BearCat is currently in service in all 50 states, including over 30 state police agencies and 98 percent of the top 100 urban areas. This translates to 700 state and federal agencies depending on Lenco vehicles on a regular basis. Long story short, Lenco has pretty much cornered the tactical armored vehicle market in North America.

Now, in order to broaden its vehicle lineup, Lenco has released the FireCat—a fire-fighting armored truck based off the company's X-Series modular vehicle design. The X-Series comes in a two or four door crew cab along with several rear “bed” options. In this instance, Lenco is utilizing the water platform. The base version of the X-Series is the X3, which comes in ambulance, troop transport, border patrol and radar surveillance.

The FireCat was not necessarily designed to act as a traditional firetruck, but rather, an armored vehicle that can enter a dangerous area and safely extinguish a fire when it would be otherwise unsafe for the fire department to do so, such as during a riot.  Although having an armored vehicle capable of acting as a fire suppressant system may seem expensive, small car fires and storefront fires can quickly spread throughout a whole community if not immediately extinguished.

The FireCat’s suppressant system consists of a 300-500 gallon tank (depending on layout and configuration) along with a variable pressure nozzle. The nozzle is capable of spewing out between 125—500 gallons per minute, and can either pull from the vehicle’s tank or from an independent pumper truck. The FireCat can also operate blindly, thanks to a camera mounted to the nozzle; it also offers optional forward facing, backup and 360 view cameras.

The vehicle’s base chassis is a 2017 Ford Super Duty with a 6.7-liter turbocharged diesel V-8 making 925 lb.-ft. of torque. This gives departments plenty of power to tow, push, ram or quickly navigate an area when necessary. Like the other X-Series variants, the FireCat is expected to cost between $200,000-$275,000—which seems like a fair price to ensure the safety of both department staff as well as civilians in distress.