New gel added to Calif. firefighters' arsenal

Starting this week, each engine and water tender in Rancho Cucamonga is carrying Thermo-gel


By Wendy Leung
The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — The city's fire engines are carrying a new weapon in its arsenal.

Starting this week, each engine and water tender is carrying Thermo-gel, a substance that absorbs heat and prevents fire when sprayed on homes.

"It has polymers and other compounds and absorbs water to form a protective barrier," said Deputy Fire Chief Mike Costello. "It's effective and enhances our limited resources."

Thermo-gel was used to help battle the Old Fire, Butler Fire, Freeway Fire and other blazes in recent years. It can be sprayed on homes — including windows, patio decks and vents — three hours in advance.

"We will use it in cases of extreme conditions or when we have a home that doesn't have a defendable space," Costello said.

The seven full-sized engines, two brush engines and water tender will each be equipped with five gallons of the gel product, which can coat 5,000 square feet of space.

The City Council, which acts as the Fire District board, approved the product, which costs $47 per gallon.

"If it saves houses and it helps us save lives, it's worth every penny," Costello said. "It's no silver bullet but we're fortunate to have it."

For more information about Thermo-Gel, visit the company's official website.

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