The big Ford was reportedly especially useful as it could get into spaces too small for traditional fire trucks.
Most concept cars never hit the road, let alone do any hard work.
An American pick-up concept has proved to be an exception after a being called on to help out after tornadoes tore through a region near Houston, Texas, last month.
Ford’s F-550 Super Duty emergency response concept truck was built for the Chicago Auto Show in February to test demand for a production version. The build was organised by marketing company NewScope, which took advice from a Texas fire department on what to fit it out with.
NewScope was also in charge of taking it to a range of events after the Chicago show including the Houston Rodeo. Just after that event, an Arlington-based fire department called for help to respond to a series of twisters that tore through the region.
A call was placed with NewScope and soon its vice president, Brad Snyder and an employee were driving the special pick-up into the heart of the devastation to a nursing home that had borne the brunt of a tornado.
“We were scared when we took it out there, because it had never been driven more than three miles,” Snyder told the New York Times. “It came through with flying colours.”
The big Ford was reportedly especially useful as it could get into spaces too small for traditional fire trucks. Some of its cool features also came in handy. These include a tower than can be raised 11 metres and uses thermal imaging to check for heat sources up to 2.4km away and an elevated night vision camera.
It also has an 1135 litre water tank, two pumps and a powerful winch. An array of powerful lights, including 113 LEDs, allowed the crew to light up houses and check for anyone who needed help.
Snyder says the truck checked 124 houses that were so badly damaged they will need to be destroyed. Authorities say about a dozen tornadoes hit the area. There were no fatalities.