FDNY drone makes history in the Bronx

FDNY drone makes history in the Bronx|FDNY drone makes history in the Bronx
Photo courtesy of FDNY|Photo courtesy of FDNY

The future of firefighting made its historic debut last week in our borough.

On Monday, March 6 at 6:20 p.m., FDNY’s first ever tethered drone made its maiden flight in response to a four-alarm fire raging inside a six-story apartment building at 653-657 Crotona Park North.

One hundred and sixty-eight firefighters responded to the incident and gained control over the blaze by 8 p.m.

Two firefighters were taken to Jacobi Hospital after sustaining minor injuries.

The fire’s cause remains under investigation.

The $85,000 eight pound drone incorporates high-definition and infrared cameras allowing transmission of live images of a fire operation to the chief overseeing the incident.

Its cameras allow chiefs at the command post to view where firefighters are operating on a building’s roof and to make decisions regarding fire suppression and ensuring members’ safety.

“We were able to get a good view of the roof which allowed the incident commander on the ground to view the firefighters as they were conducting roof operations, venting the roof and putting water on the fire,” explained Timothy Herlocker, FDNY Operations Center director.

Incident commander FDNY deputy assistant chief Dan Donoghue noted crews knew to move when the drone’s visual feed captured the building’s roof starting to fail.

The aerial image is fed directly to the incident commander and shared with senior decision makers through the FDNY Operations Center.

The quadcopter is connected by a small cable carrying electricity to the device granting it unlimited flight time.

All controls, data and power transmit back and forth via the tether, preventing interference with radio frequency signals.

The remote-controlled drone is piloted by the FDNY Command Tactical Unit’s specially trained firefighters.

The department’s fleet is comprised of three drones to deploy as needed.

The FDNY works closely with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure the drone operates safely and adheres to all NYC air space rules and policies.

FDNY’s Operation Center contacts the FAA before flying the drone for permission to deploy at night or into restricted Class B Air Space.

Approval takes ten minutes and occurs while the drone and its operators are responding to a fire.

“This new technology is going to make a positive impact in our fire operations,” expressed FDNY commissioner Daniel Nigro.

A NYC Department of Buildings spokesman said a full vacate order was issued for the building due to significant fire and water damage.

DOB confirmed no additional properties were affected by the blaze.

Michael de Vulpilieres, American Red Cross New York Greater Region communications officer, said the Red Cross met with approximately 81 displaced people at the scene consisting of 61 adults and 20 children.

The Red Cross registered six families consisting of 25 adults and two children for emergency housing and emergency funds to help them get through the next few days.

To view footage of the FDNY drone responding to last Monday’s fire, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXE365WENhQ.

The drone’s high-definition camera transmitted live images of the fire operation to the chiefs in charge.
Photo courtesy of FDNY