Westside Stone is donating a drone to the Springfield Fire Department after a truck full of explosives caught fire in a mine belonging to the company in 2015. (Photo: Scott Crabtree)
In 2015, a truck filled with 1,000 pounds of explosives caught fire in a mine in west Springfield.
A bomb squad robot’s signal was lost underground, Springfield Fire Chief David Pennington told the News-Leader. Without knowing if people could safely enter the mine without setting off an explosion, the fire department monitored the site for about three days.
The incident occurred in a contractor’s truck at a quarry belonging to Westside Stone. Now the company is donating a drone to the fire department.
Scott Crabtree, general manager of Westside Stone, said he hopes the drone can be used to help firefighters assess dangerous situations in the future.
“We obviously appreciate everything they do,” Crabtree said. “In talking to them, I overheard them discuss different things in which a drone could help them and keep them safer. We sure want to do that when we can.”
Pennington said the drone would primarily be used by the bomb squad and could also be deployed during water rescues and hazardous materials incidents.
The value of the Phantom 4 Quadcopter is about $1,200, according to a council bill.
Crabtree said the November 2015 fire was resolved without an explosion or any injuries.
The fire department evacuated nearby homes and businesses out of “an abundance of caution,” according to a news release at that time.
The release said the truck was carrying ANFO, or ammonium nitrate/fuel oil.
City Council is expected to vote to accept the donation at the next meeting in two weeks.
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