Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Camera to aid in fire rescues

February 13, 2002

Tonganoxie firefighters can now see through smoke, thanks to a new device the Tonganoxie Fire Department acquired last Thursday.

The department received a thermal imager, provided by funds from the Women's Fire Auxiliary and the city.

The imager highlights areas with more dense heat, allowing firefighters to see people trapped in rooms or hot spots in the area.

The product carried a $20,000 price tag, which was financed with equal funds from the auxiliary and the city.

"Without the auxiliary this wouldn't have ever happened," said Charlie Conrad, Tonganoxie fire chief. "The money they raised didn't put a burden on the public."

The imager also can be projected 300 feet to a television, which will allow more people to monitor the situation inside a burning building.

James Payne, Tonganoxie deputy chief, said the imager also could be used to detect electrical problems for residents or business owners concerned about electrical problems. The imager will also be used in drills.

Money for the imager started to come in with a pie-throwing booth at Tonganoxie Days in June 2000.

The auxiliary also raised money through a garage sale and had financial help from a Kansas City radio station that helped raise funds after a tornado hit Tonganoxie in 2000.

The largest fund-raising project came through the Kansas Speedway. The auxiliary had a beer garden during the summer season, and was able to purchase the imager ahead of schedule.

"We were real pleased because we thought it would take another year to raise the money," Conrad said.

Valarie Kampfer, auxiliary chairperson, said the faster fund-raising involved many people.

"We couldn't have done it without firemen and fellow auxiliary members," Kampfer said. "If they wouldn't have stood behind me, I don't think I could have done it.

"I have to give them credit as well. They do deserve it."

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