Amanda Raus, Chris Podosek
Fire fighters used a private drone to see the extent of a quarry fire in Branford
When a fire broke out a Branford quarry Thursday, Fire Chief Jack Ahern knew it would be a fire with complications, because the quarry housed explosives for a blasting company.
“We didn't know exactly at the time if it was near the explosives, but we always plan for the worst case, and in this case, it ended up being a good thing,” said Chief Ahern.
The fire department needed eyes on what was going on, so the Chief turned to volunteer firefighter Peter Sachs, who had offered up his drone for the fire department's use.
“I flew it up and over the fire with the Chief looking over my shoulder at the video because it has a live video feed,” said Sachs.
The video the drone captured is what the chief used to decide if it was safe enough to send firefighters in.
“Through his knowledge and experience, he was able to determine that the fire was far enough away from the explosives for them to safely send in fire department personnel,” said Sachs. “Yesterday's fire turned out to be the perfect example of why a drone could be useful to the fire service.”
Fire Chief Jack Ahern agrees. He says fire departments used to use media helicopters to get a bird's eye view. Drones like the one used are more cost effective.
“These drones are $1500. It's a drop in the bucket for what we saved people last night by being able to see what was going on,” said Chief Ahern.
The Branford Fire Department plans to use drones in the future after going over privacy concerns and the legalities of it.