fire

Two of the Forest Lake Fire Department’s new Stat-X fire suppression grenades: one unused, and one used to help put out a recent garage fire in Columbus.

One blaze fought with new technology

Forest Lake firefighters have responded to a couple of fires in recent weeks, including one that they fought using a new piece of technology purchased with a local donation.

The first fire began Jan. 22 outside a home around 6 p.m. at 21370 Juniper Ave. N. in Forest Lake, probably in a wood pile that was stacked up against the house. The fire spread to the house itself, but Forest Lake firefighters (assisted by the Scandia and Hugo fire departments and the Forest Lake Police Department) contained the fire before it did extensive damage. Fire damaged the roof, and the interior of the building suffered mostly smoke damage and a little water damage. No one was hurt.

The second fire started in a garage at 8750 178th Ave. Northeast in Columbus. Firefighters were called to the scene around 6:15 p.m. and were there for three hours. The fire had the potential to spread outside of the garage and to the nearby house at the address, but Fire Chief Al Newman said the firefighters got additional ammunition to fight the fire thanks to the Stat-X fire suppression grenade. The department purchased several grenades recently after a donation from a private citizen.

Newman said that Chief 3 Mike Swenson arrived on the scene first and scouted it out while other firefighters were arriving and setting up. Once he saw that the fire was contained to inside the garage, he pulled the pin on the grenade, threw it into the garage and shut the door.

The Stat-X, when detonated, releases an aerosol that interferes with fire’s chemical reaction. It only works in an enclosed area – like when a fire is contained to a room or chimney – but in those situations it can go a long way to putting a fire out by itself while also buying firefighters more time before the fire spreads.

“It doesn’t work on every fire, but on certain fires it should be a pretty cool tool,” Newman said.

In the case of the Columbus fire, the Stat-X mostly extinguished the blaze, allowing firefighters to finish the job and keep the fire from spreading elsewhere. No one was injured.

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