Robotic Used For First Time To Put Out Big Hearth At Downtown LA Textile Enterprise – CBS Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – For the first time in the US, a robotic fire engine was used on Tuesday to tackle a major emergency fire in downtown Los Angeles.
The fire broke out in a textile store and spread to an adjacent building. More than 130 firefighters put out the flames, preventing them from spreading any further.
The major alarm fire broke out in a one-story building on the 800 block of South Crocker Street before 4:45 a.m.
The crews arrived on site and found that the building contained “stacks of rolled textiles,” reports the LA Fire Department. The textiles served as fuel to spread the flames and prompted the fire department to declare a fire with a higher alarm.
“What we have in us is an abundance of rolled goods, fabrics and textiles that smolder and are piled very high,” said LAFD Captain Erik Scott.
The fire was initially brought under control within about 40 minutes. However, there was a flare-up on the northwest side of the building that forced LAFD to bring in more crews.
“That actually took off and was very persistent,” said Scott. “We’ve called in waves of additional firefighters to help.”
The fire then jumped to a second building to the east, where it ripped through the roof, forcing firefighters to take a defensive position.
According to Margaret Stewart of the Los Angeles Fire Department, a “robotic fire engine” was used during the fire.
Known as the RS3, the vehicle is a Textron remote-controlled, rail-mounted robot that was used in that fire to clear debris from the structure “to allow a more effective attack on the fire while avoiding firefighters deploying in Danger, ”said Stewart.
The RS3 was purchased by the LAFD Foundation and donated to the department. That was the first time a robotic fire engine was deployed in the country, Stewart said.
It took 130 firefighters about four hours to finally put down the fire. The owners and employees of around a dozen companies in the two buildings in the city center were waiting to see if anything inside could be salvaged.
There are many homeless camps nearby, but firefighters don’t believe any of their residents have been injured.
A firefighter was rushed to hospital with a heat-related illness, the fire department said. There were no other injuries.