Local News

February 23, 2014

New technology boosts firefighting

MINEVILLE — Arriving at a fast-moving house fire in his community, Mineville-Witherbee Fire Chief Adam Wright pulled the pin on one of his department’s new fire-extinguishing grenades.

With everyone out of the home, he tossed the canister into the kitchen, where flames were spreading from the stove to the ceiling and the rest of the room.

With a loud roar, the device burst into a shower of coolant that covered the space and put the fire out.

“It worked immediately,” Wright said in an interview with the Press-Republican. “It was our first use of the device, and it was a perfect situation.”


The Stat-X fire-suppressant canister, a potassium-based aerosol device, suppresses fire by chemically interfering with the part of a flame called free radicals.

The appliances release a chemical compound by exothermic reaction, blanketing a room with fine particles to put a fire out.

Mineville-Witherbee Assistant Chief Raymond Briggs said the fire was still within one room when they arrived — an ideal situation for the Stat-X device.

“We got there, and we could see black smoke coming out. The fire was hitting the ceiling.”

They made the decision to use the Stat-X canister because the flames were in a confined space, he said.

“It made a noise like a jet engine. The fire went out. We didn’t need to use any water, so we saved the contents of their home.”


The Jan. 30 fire at the Mineville home was the right situation for the Stat-X device, Wright said.

“You have a window when the device can be used. At some point, the fire is too large.

“But a fire in one room, a fire in an attic or basement, even a chimney fire, are what it works best for. You could use it on a chimney fire that was spreading to the house.”

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