FDNY Uses Drone for First Time to Fight Bronx Fire

NY Daily News - March 08, 2017

by JOHN ANNESE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

This may be the Bravest drone in New York City.

A four-alarm blaze in Bronx on Monday gave the FDNY the chance to use a new fire-fighting tool — a drone equipped with high-definition and infrared cameras.

The fire broke out just after 6:20 p.m., tearing through four floors and the roof of a six-story apartment building on Crotona Park N. and Crotona Ave. in Tremont.

As the flames spread, FDNY officials launched the 8-pound drone, which is lifted by four rotors and painted fire-truck red, to check out the roof.

“The roof started to fail. We were worried about what was going on,” said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Dan Donoghue. “We had a lot of great radio reports, but that’s only verbal. So with the drone we actually had a good visual picture, so it really helped us to make decisions to help put this fire out and keep our guys safe.”

Firefighters have been training with the drone for the past several months, but Monday marked its first use during an active fire, officials said.

The drone, which cost $85,000 according to reports, is tethered to the ground and can fly about 200 feet high, Donoghue said.

Firefighters brought the flames under control shortly after 8 p.m.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The flames spread quickly through the walls within the first half hour of the blaze, Donoghue said.

“Fortunately, all the tenants got out pretty quick,” he said. “We had to get underneath the fire and pull ceilings, and also get on top of the fire.”

“The idea behind it is to keep an eye on our firefighters while they’re operating on the roof where the incident commander can’t see them,” said Timothy Herlocker, director of the FDNY Operations Center, in a post on the FDNY’s Facebook page.

The cause of the Bronx b