Fire Damages Vandergrift Home, Crews Use Thermal Imaging Technology To Fight Flames

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VANDERGRIFT (KDKA) — An intense fire damaged a home in Westmoreland County on Friday evening, and crews used some of their newest equipment to help them battle the blaze.

The mutual aid fire broke out around 7:30 p.m. in a two-story home in the 100 block of Custer Avenue in Vandergrift.

A 32-year-old woman who lived in the house was in the basement doing laundry at the time.

vandergrift fire Fire Damages Vandergrift Home, Crews Use Thermal Imaging Technology To Fight Flames

(Photo Credit: Ralph Iannotti/KDKA)

When the alarm came in, the Vandergrift fire chief and some of the firefighters were nearby at the Davis Field stadium for Kiski High School’s football game.

Chief Randy Dunmire, of the Vandergrift Volunteer Fire Department, said, “We initially had a report of entrapment, but that was all cleared up on arrival. We had smoke throughout the building. Our first crews, interior crews, made a quick search; windows broken out in front of the house.”

Firefighters made use of new pieces of equipment – air packs equipped with built-in thermal imaging cameras. Fourteen of them were recently purchased thanks to a $100,000 federal grant.

“Every firefighter making entry has access to the air packs. They swing the wand up, they are able to scan the room looking for possible victims. A person on the floor, you can pick up a heat trace with them; and secondary, you can find where the fire is. They can spot fires behind walls, or up into the ceiling,” Chief Dunmire said.

A preliminary investigation indicated the fire began in a second-floor bedroom, but a fire marshal is being brought in to try to determine the cause.

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