They are down to just one FIT-5 in Mount Olive, New Jersey. The last one used is being touted as a success story for the fire extinguishing grenade. Flanders Fire Chief Fred Detoro Jr., rather than let the fire wait another 3-minutes for his crew to arrive, pulled the pin and threw one in after arriving at a house fire on Sunday.
Detoro believes it saved the home.
“Absolutely, no question about it,” Detoro said. “It knocked the heavy fire completely down.”
The FIT-5, retailing for $1,295, is disc-shaped and weighs about nine pounds. A firefighter deploys it like a grenade, pulling a cord and tossing the device toward the fire. It takes about 15 seconds for the FIT-5 to begin spewing potassium bicarbonate, a similar substance to what is found in fire extinguishers. The ensuing chemical reaction does not put out the fire, but it does cool the temperature of the blaze.
The National Fire Protection Agency does not have hard data on the FIT-5 but Curt Varone, division manager of the public fire protection division, said he has heard many success stories.
“The feedback is that they have worked on several occasions,” Varone said. “It is a new product and offers some potential.”
The FIT-5 was first used in the United States in December 2007 and can now be found in more than 300 fire companies across the country. Several New Jersey departments have successfully deployed the device in recent months.
Chief Detero wants to get more of the FIT-5s. Retailing for $1295 each, the chief is hoping that the victim’s homeowners insurance will reimburse the department. If you have never seen the FIT-5 in action, here is a demonstration by the company the makes the product.