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Fire department given thermal camera

May 14, 1999

Poor visibility in fire and smoke can be dangerous and difficult for firefighters looking for the source of the blaze.

To help, the Independent Junior Fire Co. of Hagerstown recently presented the Hagerstown Fire Department with an $18,000 hand-held thermal-imaging camera.

The camera will be kept in the shift commander's vehicle so it will be available for all fire calls in the city, Deputy Hagerstown Fire Chief Richard L. Kipe said.

Once training is completed, the device will be ready to use on actual calls, he said.

"Antietam Fire Co. has already obtained three helmet-mounted models but the training for them will take longer," Kipe said.

The camera senses heat from flames or people and can help find people in smoky situations or even in water. Hot spots and victims can be as close as 2 feet or as far away as 600 feet.

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