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UPDATE: Firefighters try to drown drone flying over house fire


The man with the drone, John Thompson, has done a TV interview that can be viewed here (raw interview here).

Thompson has about 100,000 views for the video and has posted more of his thoughts on his Facebook page. That I have seen, there is no response by any of the fire officials on the scene. But many of you have responded in our comments section and on Facebook.

The attempt to drown the drone begins at about 12:00 into the video above

My rough estimate is that about two-thirds of those commenting think the firefighters were wrong, with many of those also saying they believe John Thompson was wrong. About one-third supported the actions of the firefighters.

Many of those supporters believe that Mr. Thompson needs permission from those in charge of the fireground to do the fly over. Others talk about privacy concerns and say there are regulations about flying over private property. Some have cited a Supreme Court ruling and others State of New York regulations, but I can find neither in my search.

Here’s one of the better resources I’ve discovered from the National Conference of State Legislatures, listing the various state laws and the current federal regulations.

As I wrote before, I don’t know if Mr. Thompson violated any FAA rules and regulations. I would add that if safety was a concern, attempting to knock a UAV out of the sky was not going to make anyone safer and had the potential to do more harm. It also wasn’t a very well thought out action. I don’t see anything that indicates firefighters should be involved in enforcement of UAV activities.

That said, as I have been writing for a number of years, there are potential safety concerns, particularly with the increased use of drones by the public and eventually the news media. Expect to see multiple UAVs operating over major scenes. You need to learn the rules, regulations and laws and learn what, if any, control you have over this issue on your fireground. That will probably serve you better than trying to shoot them out of the sky.


A number of years ago I started asking how firefighters and chiefs are going to react to drones (UAVs as they are officially known) flying over the fireground. In the last year we’ve seen more and more videos from above fires. Yesterday (Thursday) some firefighters in Orange County, New York made it pretty clear they didn’t like the eye in the sky. It appears they took target practice on the drone with their hoses. The video by john thompson was shot at a house fire on Colden Hill Road in Coldenham. Here’s some of what John Thompson wrote about the incident on his Facebook page:

Stopped at a structure fire in Coldenham fire district and 13 min in to shooting the video the fire company tryed to blow my drone out of the sky with the fire hose for filming the fire this is real miss conduct on there part and verry unprofessional on there part, My second take off the camera did not record so it look’s like they destroyed a $2,200.00 drone thank’s guy’s for the nice job thank’s guy’s for the nice job your doing for the community.  

NY Coldenham drone attack 6-5-15

NY Coldenham drone attack 2 6-5-15

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