Firefighters Stop Threat of Fire with Thermal Imaging Cameras

Mike Kutsko, Columbus Fire Department Deputy Chief of EMS, shows the view from a thermal imaging camera, which was used Sunday to spot the location of a heat buildup at a Columbus family’s apartment.

Columbus Firefighters used thermal imaging cameras to find a buildup of heat due to an electrical problem at a family’s apartment on Sunday, October 21, stopping the threat of fire before it could turn into a dangerous and damaging blaze.

Firefighters responded at 2:20 p.m. Sunday to the apartment of Siva Rama Krzshnam Raji B at Parkview Townhomes, 3338 S. Country Brook Street, on a report of heat and smoke. Siva Rama Krzshnam Raji B, lives at the apartment with his wife, Lakshmi, and his two sons ages 4 and 8.Firefighters from Station 3 arrived first and were assisted by firefighters from Stations 1, 4 and 2.  Columbus Police Department officers evacuated residents of the apartment building.

Thermal imaging cameras were used to locate the source of the heat buildup in the ceiling of the second floor. Firefighters removed as little ceiling as possible and cut power to the entire apartment to stop the threat. The manager of the complex, which is owned by Equity Property Management, has other accommodations available for the family until the problem can be corrected.

No injuries were reported at the scene, and damage to the apartment has been estimated at $5,000.

“The thermal imaging camera was key in minimizing damage to the apartment,” said Columbus Fire Department Chief Dave Allmon. “This important tool helps find heat sources in places where firefighters can’t see flames, including inside walls and ceilings, and is extremely valuable in preserving property and saving lives.”

Firefighters take thermal imaging cameras with them on about 80 percent of fire calls, and almost every apparatus carries one of the cameras. Before the fire department had thermal imaging cameras, firefighters had to randomly knock holes into ceilings and walls to find fires, a costly and time-consuming process.

“This tool helps keep small fires from becoming big ones, and immediately spots the location that needs firefighters’ attention,” Chief Allmon said. “The quick and decisive action of our firefighters to use the thermal imaging camera kept this from becoming a major fire.”

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