Eye in the Sky: Drone helps crews respond to refinery explosion - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Eye in the Sky: Drone helps crews respond to refinery explosion

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The Superior Police Department credits a drone for helping fire crews determine a plan of action during the Husky Energy Refinery Fire. 

Wednesday police are showing us how that drone helped crews on the ground, by giving them an eye in the sky. 

On April 26th, emergency crews needed to create an action plan to battle the dangerous fire at the Husky Refinery. 

"I heard the explosion and heard the police department talking on the radio and determined, hey we should really get the drone there," says Officer Bradley Jago with the Superior Police Department.

With a smoke plume forming a canopy over the refinery and surrounding areas it was nearly impossible for ground crews to determine the magnitude of the fire, the Superior Police Department sent a drone up into the sky to get a better look.  

"The drone was instrumental in doing initial damage assessment. And after the fire reigned, we were able to be there instantly to allow them to see an aerial view of the fire," says Jago, "it uses a 4K video camera on it, so really high definition."

From a staging area over a mile away, officers provided Husky fire teams with highly accurate aerial views using special technology.

Jago says, "Using our goggles here with members of the Husky Emergency response team, they were able to see the fire in real-time."

But what exactly were crews trying to determine? 

"I believe that their overall goal was to see the length of the fire, how large the fire was if there were any tanks that were damaged that they needed to worry about."

Officer Jago was controlling the drone on that day and says, without the drone footage, the day could have gone differently.  "Without the drone, it may have taken a little bit more time to establish a plan, just due to the safety factor involved in sending people into the unknown."

A small drone, helping in a big way. "This footage that this was able to provide was invaluable. It allowed them to develop a plan of attack that happened very quickly."

The Superior Police department has used the drone in emergencies 11 times since November.


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