Orland Fire Protection District Firefighters Use Drone to Locate Hot Spots and Assess Firefighting Progress in House Fire on West Scarlett Drive


Drone video at Orland Park house Wednesday demonstrates how aerial video can help pinpoint fires in a roof or attic, and fight the fire more efficiently and safely.

Orland Park Fire Protection District firefighters responded about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday to an attic and roof fire in the 10800 block of West Scarlet Drive. The fire was possibly caused by a lightning strike. The fire in the attic and roof was well-involved by the time firefighters arrived at the 5,000 square-foot home.

Firefighters deployed a drone to get an aerial view above the aerial master streams that were hitting the fire. One unmanned aerial stream is visible in the video and one raised manned aerial tower ladder truck platform is visible in the video.

The video shows that fire command can see the big picture while the operators of the elevated streams focus on hitting the fire. Fires often flare up while firefighters concentrate on another part of the attic, but the aerial view allows fire command to see other fire breakouts more efficiently and anticipate the necessity to hit a fire area that could spread more rapidly and cause more damage or present danger to firefighters on the interior attack.

The drone also provides capability to use the aerial view to help firefighters that are operating a master stream or other hose line from the ground to more accurately pitch the stream of water on the fire above.

With the roof open, fire command can even view crews working inside, and assess hazards, such as collapse risks. The supervision could also help prevent firefighters inside from being accidentally hit by an elevated master stream.

Firefighters used an all-white DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone with a recording camera that also provided a live view via an Apple iPad display. The drone was operated by the fire department’s Director of Communication William Neumann — sitting inside the Battalion Chief’s vehicle during firefighting operations.

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