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Woman leads effort to get camera for fire company

September 20, 2000

Woman leads effort to get camera for fire company



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Thermal cameraBOONSBORO - Kathy Snyder was shocked when she saw a 1997 report about a child who died in a fire because firefighters couldn't find her in the dense smoke.

"I never knew that they couldn't see" inside burning structures, she said.

It was then that Snyder decided her local Boonsboro Volunteer Fire Co. should have cutting-edge firefighting equipment to prevent such fire deaths.

The Boonsboro native scrimped and saved and held fund-raisers to come up with much of the $10,000 needed to buy a thermal imaging camera for the fire company.

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The hand-held camera, which uses infrared technology to locate heat sources in dark, smoky areas, was put into service Sunday.

"It's ridiculous that they don't have the proper tools to do their job. In my opinion, it's a necessity," Snyder said.

Firefighters from Boonsboro and its substation at Rohrersville put the camera to use Monday when they were called to a fire at a mobile home on Mount Carmel Church Road, according to Captain Jay Brandenburg.

"It's an important piece of life-saving equipment," Brandenburg said.

He said he was impressed that Snyder worked so hard to get the camera for the fire company and felt that indicated local fire education efforts were working.

"We just appreciate that someone in the community has stepped up and helped us. I hope it spurs more community involvement," he said.

When Snyder took on the fund-raising project, the thermal imaging camera she intended to buy was $25,000. A less expensive model, available direct from the factory, was purchased for $10,000.

"I didn't know how hard it was going to be. I thought everybody would give once we got the word out," she said.

Many people did give during numerous fund-raisers Snyder held. Boonsboro Middle School sixth-grade students helped out during an auction and bake sale that raised nearly $3,000, she said.

"I was very pleased, the kids did a super job," she said.

Other contributions came in from Boonsboro Cub Scout Pack 20, Boonsboro Video and Boonsboro American Legion.

Snyder said there were times she had thought about giving up but managed to persevere because she knew the impact the camera would have.

"I glad we have it. I hope we never need it but I'm glad we have it because fire doesn't discriminate," Snyder said.

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