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Watch: Boston FFs fight 8-alarm fire using drones to direct water as smoke fills area

Members of the Brookline Fire Department assisted, and one firefighter was injured and transported to a hospital


Photo/Boston Fire Department

Will Katcher

BOSTON — Thick, black smoke from an eight-alarm fire coated a Boston neighborhood Friday morning, significantly cutting down visibility, and forcing firefighters to enlist the help of a drone to spot flames spreading inside the building.

The fire began early Friday at 185 Corey Road in Boston, just north of Brookline’s Washington Square, the Boston Fire Department said. But throughout the morning, as fire crews were ordered out of the building, and as heavy smoke clouded the surrounding area, firefighters deployed a drone to help direct water toward flames inside the building.

The drone provided an overhead view for officials to spot areas still burning within the building. Even when smoke covered the view, the drone’s heat-sensitive camera allowed firefighters to peer past the plumes and find flames that hadn’t been extinguished.

Firefighters first responded to the four-alarm fire around 4:30 a.m., but by 5 a.m., with smoke pouring from second story windows, it had already been upgrade to a fifth alarm, the Boston Fire Department said.

As smoke covered the neighborhood, cutting down visibility, fire officials ordered all firefighters out of the building and off of the roof, the department said. When the wind in the area shifted, the building disappeared into a cloud of black smoke.

The heavy smoke ultimately caused Brookline to cancel classes at the nearby Driscoll School, which serves students between kindergarten and eighth grade.

As of about 8:30 a.m. Friday, the fire was ongoing.

The smoke forced firefighters to constantly change their air tanks, the department said. One firefighter was injured and transported to the hospital, according to Boston Fire Commissioner John Dempsey.

The fire, eventually reaching eight alarms, also drew help from the Brookline Fire Department, officials said.


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