A drone with a thermal camera was used by the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD) to direct fire crews to the hottest areas of a burning ship to help maintain its structural integrity. The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department posted the images on its Twitter account.

The M/V Hoegh Xiamen, used to transport cars and other machinery around the world, caught fire last Thursday after the ship was loaded. All crew managed to escape without injury. The fire crew fighting the fires, however, were injured by an explosion while putting the fire out, with three remaining in hospital.

The fire is said to have started on the seventh deck of the ship where cars were being stored. The firefighters acted quickly, closing the cargo doors of the ship to starve the fire of oxygen. The firefighters then focused on cooling the exterior of the boat. They have been able to accurately focus on various hotspots on the exterior of the ship thanks to the help of a DJI drone equipped with a thermal camera.

It’s believed that after the doors were closed by the firefighters shortly after, there was an explosion that injured eight of the 120 firefighters that were deployed to fight the fire. Firefighting tugboats along with firetrucks are pumping around 25,000 gallons of water per minute onto the exterior of the ship.

From the images posted to Twitter by the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department (JFRD), we are able to see the exterior of the ship reach around 500 degrees Fahrenheit where the fire was directly behind the outer wall.

Here are a few more images of the boat being blasted with thousands of gallons of water to cool it down and ensure the fire doesn’t reignite.

What do you think about drones being used to support firefighters? Let us know in the comments below.

Photo: Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department

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