Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Airport rig douses Hailey brush fire

Blaze may have been caused by fireworks

Express Staff Writer

The Friedman Memorial Airport Fire Operations Crew used a specialized crash rescue rig, like the one in this photograph, to fight a fire on the outskirts of Hailey on Sunday. Photo by Willy Cook

A brush fire that broke out Sunday evening on the southern outskirts of Hailey was brought under control with help from Friedman Memorial Airport firefighters using a specialized airplane-crash-fire rescue rig.

The fire was reported along Queen of the Hills Drive on the west side of Broadford Road at 7:13 p.m. Sunday, said Hailey Fire Chief Mike Chapman.

"We suspect it was fireworks related," Chapman said.

The fire consumed less than one acre of brush, partially consumed a shed and threatened three Hailey homes before it was put out.

Under a mutual aid agreement, the Hailey Fire Department's three responding engines were supported by one from Bellevue and one from Wood River Fire & Rescue. But the city first received help from the airport's Fire Operations Crew, which deployed a specialized Crash Fire Rescue Rig to the scene. Two such rigs are kept at the airport.

"We try to be helpful if someone needs our help," said Friedman Memorial Airport Operations Chief Pete Kramer. "We would never do it if we couldn't also provide fire protection on the airfield at the same time."

The rig is designed to fight airplane crash fires on airport runways, and is equipped with a turret hose that can be operated from inside the engine.

"They were the closest apparatus so it worked out pretty well," Chapman said. "They knocked the fire down with the turret. It shoots about 100 feet."

Chapman said the fire was suppressed within 90 minutes.

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