Home in Prominent Shelter Island, New York Ablaze; Saved by the FIT-5 Fire Fighting Device
July 2, 2008 2:27 PM EDT
As the first firefighter to arrive at the Shelter Island, New York house fire, Shelter Island Fire Department First Assistant Fire Chief William Rowland made a decision that likely saved the burning home - he used a FIT-5, a new handheld fire interruption device that quickly knocked down a basement fire and protected the home from potentially being engulfed in flames.
The FIT-5 is gaining recognition as a supplementary tool in aiding fire fighters in challenging interior fires, including basement fires. This is the third FIT-5 deployment over the last seven months in the New York / New Jersey region.
In December 2007, the FIT-5 was credited with saving buildings and lives following a third floor house fire in Port Jervis, New York; and in May 2008, a fire department in West Milford, New Jersey, put out a basement fire by using the FIT-5. Currently, 23 fire departments in the East Coast are equipped to use the FIT-5 to extinguish structure fires, similar to the Shelter Island basement fire.
"Basement fires are uniquely difficult and dangerous to fight. This can be further amplified in areas like Shelter Island where there is limited access to water,"
At the Shelter Island fire, First Assistant Fire Chief Rowland kicked down the basement door and activated the FIT-5 which emitted a non-toxic aerosol powder that quickly suppressed the basement fire - which originated in an electrical panel - and decreased the amount of water required to fight the fire.
"As the first to respond, I had limited resources and time to extinguish the fire," said Rowland. "The FIT-5 knocked down the fire prevented its spread, and bought five minutes until 32 volunteers from my department arrived at the scene."
Rowland and his volunteers remained at the scene for 1.5 hours and used only 250 gallons of water to fully extinguish the fire as opposed to 750 - 1000 gallons that would have normally been used.
"Without the FIT-5, we would have required at least three more hours to fully extinguish the fire. The FIT-5 saved the home and made interior attack safe," said Rowland.
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