Thermal Imaging Camera Helped Prevent Mahtomedi Fire from Spreading
A massive fire in Mahtomedi on Friday came just ahead of National Fire Prevention Week.
KSTP learned today, crews used a high-tech tool to in their fight against the flames - a thermal imaging camera.
Michael and Pam Nightingale realize as bad as the fire was along Park Avenue, it devoured their home, a neighbor's and threatened more houses. That's because hours after the first fire was put out, firefighters were called back a second time to the Nightingale's, a hot spot simmered in the roof.
Blinded by belching smoke, firefighters turned to a thermal imaging camera, searching for flare ups they couldn't see with the naked eye.
Most fire departments in the state, now have these cameras. In St. Paul, firefighters take several to every scene. Because they use infrared radiation to detect extreme heat, the cameras can peer through smoke and darkness.
Fire and police departments, even the State Patrol rely on these cameras to find trapped people, hot spots at house or wild fires, overheated wiring in buildings, missing persons and hidden dangers like criminals hiding out.
They're expensive - anywhere from $8,000 to $30,000 - but worth it according to the Nightingale's and their neighbors.