Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Hamilton gets new fire gear

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — City firefighters have joined the growing number of fire departments using life-saving thermal-imaging cameras.

        One $20,000 camera was purchased with city funds. A second, similar camera, costing $9,500, was bought with money raised by the department's firefighters' union and local businesses.

        “The community also realized this piece of equipment was important,” said Lt. Brian Ruhl, Hamilton police spokesman.

        Contributors included the Hamilton Professional Firefighters, Hamilton Independent Insurance Agents, Hamilton Community Foun dation, Matandy Steel, McDonald's of Hamilton, the Miller Brewing Co., Beckett Paper Division of International Paper, Mr. and Mrs. David Metzler, Mr. and Mrs. Ted Clear of Fin Pan, First Southwestern Bank and John Burkart.

        The cameras, which went into service last month, en able firefighters to see clearly in a smoke-filled room and quickly locate victims.

        Firefighters using the cameras see a black-and-white image. Black or dark objects are cooler while white or light objects are warm.

        The cameras can also be used to help firefighters find small, concealed fires, Lt. Ruhl said.

        A number of other Greater Cincinnati fire departments also have the cameras, including Franklin, Franklin Township, Carlisle, Colerain, Hebron, Reading, Monroe, Madeira-Indian Hill and Forest Park. Cincinnati firefighters were training in using the new equipment this month, and Liberty Township firefighters are on the verge of buying some of the cameras.

        In November, Oxford firefighters said their high-tech thermal imaging camera might have saved the life of Robert Ammarell, 21, a Miami University senior who was injured in a blaze at the Sigma Chi house on the edge of the Miami campus.


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