Daily Illuminator

April 9, 2005: Fire On The Balcony

Around noon on Friday, the guys in Production complained of smelling smoke. Sticking our heads outside, we indeed saw smoke -- and it was coming from our balcony!

A stray cigarette butt had ignited a plastic lawn chair, filling the area with noxious smoke. The fire department was called, but Jerry and Nathan had already fire extinguisher'ed the mini-blaze to death. Austin Fire Department's Truck 35 showed up in just minutes, and pronounced our offices safe.

One of the tools they used was a nifty infrared sensor (the red video camera-sized gadget seen here). It pinpoints any source of heat, allowing the user to target the center of a fire. And since it operates on infared, it ignores smoke entirely. Helmet-mounted models are available, and are especially useful for entering burning buildings. Both cost around $8,000, so we appreciated a chance to check out their toy!

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