A drone, owned and operated by CloudDeck Media assist the incident commander at a house fire in Nichols Hills, Okla. on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (CloudDeck Media video image)
NICHOLS HILLS, Oklahoma - The fire began in an occupied but vacant (owners were away) single-family residence in the City of Nichols Hills, Oklahoma.
Nichols Hills has their own fire department and the adjacent City of The Village responds with them under a Memorandum of Understanding. The Incident Commander quickly determined that additional apparatus and personnel were required, and the City of Oklahoma City was requested.
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After an initial entry, crews were withdrawn. A steep slate roof over a large volume attic prevented crews from attacking from above or ventilating. Tight side setbacks reduced effectiveness with hand lines. Similarly, at the rear was another residence that prevented access by equipment and crews. At the front were three aerial apparatus, but 20 mph winds blew smoke over them, making visibility impossible. That’s when the Incident Commander asked us to launch our drone.
I was specifically requested to fly by the Incident Commander, and he and several others looked at the video feed for the first few minutes of flight.
I am a full-time, licensed, professional commercial drone operator (FAA Section 333, FAA Part 107, and FAA licensed pilot). Our company has the experience of operating at several fires (residential & commercial), emergency responses, severe weather emergencies, and other events. We only fly when asked, and when it’s safe.