Thermal drone gives Florida firefighters an inside view

A drone equipped with a thermal sensor helped firefighters in Florida determine where the flames were, even though they were not visible. It was the first time the crew had used the drone in this particular kind of situation.

Fires are difficult enough to contain when you can see the flames. But when firefighters can’t see what’s burning, that’s when things can really get tough. And that’s precisely the kind of situation first responders faced in Lauderhill, Florida, Wednesday afternoon.

House fire

When the fire crew arrived on the scene, smoke was escaping from the roof. But there were no visible flames, nor any holes in the structure. And so they launched a drone equipped with a thermal camera. It’s not entirely clear from the footage, but it appears like it could be a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual – it’s got that Mavic shape.

Regardless, they popped up a thermal drone. And it did the job:

An airborne thermal sensor gave firefighters critical information…

Could have been much worse

The fire was first noticed by a nearby worker at around 5 p.m. on February 10. He alerted the owners of the home, who were asleep at the time. They escaped safely, and it wasn’t long before Lauderhill Fire Rescue crews had arrived.

The drone, said firefighters, provided critical information.

“That is amazing right now,” Captain Jerry Gonzalez told Local 10 News. “Just a few years ago it wouldn’t have existed, and who knows what other type of damage would have been done to the house just trying to find the source of this fire.”


It’s a fascinating topic. So interesting that we wrote a very long take on this last summer. If you’re interested in the evolution of drones as a firefighting tool, you can check it out here.

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