CairnsIRIS unit used in fire at Paynesville Implement

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 8/25/98.

The Paynesville Fire Department was called to Paynesville Implement Wednesday evening, Aug. 19, after Paul McCarney, partsman, and Harlan Beek, owner, smelled smoke.

It was believed lightning struck the building as there were no electrical wiring in this part of the building.

ďThe CairnsIRIS unit saved us a lot of time in detecting the general area of the fire,Ē Jim Freilinger, fire chief, said. ďThe unit made it simpler and easier to detect, saving us a lot of time. Metal buildings donít let smoke through and we usually have to go hunting to find the location of fires. The CairnsIRIS unit pinpointed the hot spot, enabling us to find the sight quickly,Ē he added.

Freilinger said basically all they had to do was make one hole to vent the smoke and heat. Without the CairnsIRIS thermal imaging system, they would have had to make several holes to find the exact location of the fire.

The fire had burned through one large rafter and three cross members.

This was the first time the fire department used the CairnsIRIS unit. The department had completed a course on the system in June. Donations from local organizations enabled the fire department to raise $25,000 for the system.

By using the CairnsIRIS, damage to the building was kept to a minimum, which is estimated to be under $1,000. Without the system, damage estimates would be higher as more areas would have been damaged in addition to more water damage in search of the fire.

The CairnsIRIS system allows a firefighter to ďseeĒ through smoke and will enhance their ability in search and rescue, detect hot spots, fire suppression, hazardous material as well as adding a high degree of safety in standard training operations.

Freilinger said they have started to receive funds from various people and businesses for a second unit.

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