Drone played ‘decisive’ role in fighting fire at Danish hospital
A specialised drone gave emergency services vital information during a fire at a hospital in Holbæk in western Zealand.

The drone was crucial in helping firefighters to put out a violent blaze which broke out at the hospital on Tuesday night, head of West Zealand Fire Service Lasse Hansen told Ritzau.

“The drone discovered during the night that there was a pocket of fire over the boiler house, which we actually thought we had managed to stop,” Hansen said. “It could see that the heat was beginning to spread, so we were quickly able to open the roof and put down the fire early,” he added. “Without the drone, firefighters would have been unable to spot the heat coming from the area until smoke and fire began to escape” Hansen explained.

80 firefighters and 20 fire engines were involved in the response to the fire, Ritzau reports.

The drone, which has specialist optical and thermal cameras, is put to use around once every month, according to the fire chief. As well as in firefighting, it is also used in police searches as well as at sea, for example if an oil leak is suspected.

The fire service in western Zealand has had access to the drone, which belongs to its volunteer section, since 2014 and is able to request its assistance in situations where it might be needed. It arrived at the Holbæk fire 30 minutes after the alarm was raised.

Tuesday’s blaze is reported by local media TV Øst to have been started by a gas-powered tumble dryer in the hospital’s laundry facility. Four buildings, covering an area of four square kilometres, were engulfed by the subsequent flames.

Nobody was injured during the fire, which did not spread to any patient buildings.

Photo credit: Mathias Øgendal/Ritzau Scanpix