Drones have long been used to help out in emergency situations and one really came in handy during an explosive welding company fire in Michigan. A $30,000 drone flew above the acrid smoke and booming explosions to transmit video of the carnage to firefighters on the ground.


The Western Wayne County Hazardous Materials Response Team brought in its donated $30,000 DJI Matrice 210 drone to assist the Pittsfield Township firefighters after butane, propane, and acetylene tanks caught fire at Ann Arbor Welding Company earlier this week. The drone can not only take video and photos in high definition but can also provide thermal imaging.

They were thus able to ascertain based on the drone’s temperature readings that one 2,000 pound propane that had burned for almost 24 hours reached a temperature of almost 600 degrees. The information was very helpful with situational awareness for the firefighters and enabled them to determine “if it’s viable to put people’s harm’s way.”

The drone did prove to be very helpful in combating the fire as no firefighters, residents or employees were seriously injured as a result of the blaze. Fire personnel had evacuated homes and businesses within a one-mile radius as the tanks expelled fuel and eventually burned themselves dry.

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