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Democrat Photo by Paul Hemmer

MONTICELLO FIRE DEPARTMENT 2nd Assistant Chief Brian Soller, center, operates the Argus Thermal Imaging Camera during the film shoot. Firefighter Carl Houman is just inside the burning room as firefighter Pedro Agusto stands behind Soller with a fully-charged hand line.

Monti Firefighters, Camera
Star in Promotional Video

By Paul Hemmer
MONTICELLO — February 16, 2001 – Monticello Fire Department and their “Argus” Thermal Imaging Camera became the subjects of a promotional video produced by the makers of the camera, Marconi Applied Technologies this past Sunday.
Monticello Fire Department purchased the device last fall as an aid in several firefighting applications. The camera is actually a device that can create an image of an object using the heat that it produces. As such, this camera can aid firefighters in finding fire victims in heavy smoke conditions where they would not be able to see them with the naked eye.
The device can also be used to detect heat or even to find fire inside of walls that could otherwise go undetected. According to Monticello 2nd Assistant Chief Brian Soller, the device was used for just that purpose several days before shooting the video.
“We were able to pinpoint the exact location of the fire inside the wall,” said Soller. “Not only did it save time but it also saved us from unnecessarily opening more of the wall than we needed to in order to find the fire.”
This demonstration was exactly the type of scenario that the Marconi company wanted to showcase in their promotional video and it was the Monticello department’s relationship with two of the company’s representatives that led to their participation in the filming. Tom Coduto, Vice President of Marconi’s Commercial Sensing Division, and Joseph Carrasquillo, Fire Safety Products Manager, were instrumental in organizing the project and were on hand on Sunday with a film crew to record the action.
The structure used in the making of this video was a bungalow located on the old Concord Hotel Property that was slated for destruction. While the film crew readied themselves for the shoot, preparations were made to start the live burn portion of the video.
During the filming, Monticello’s camera was hooked up to a remote video camera which would record exactly what firefighters would see if they were looking through the camera themselves. Soller and firefighters Carl Houman and Pedro Agosto put the camera through its paces under live fire conditions. By recording how the camera would be used during actual fire fighting conditions. The company intended to illustrate the camera’s versatility in actual use on their promotional video.
While Houman got the interior fire underway, Soller operated the camera, which allowed him to monitor the intense heat inside the room as the hot smoke and gasses banked down from the ceiling. The trio continued recording the progress of the fire while they retreated from the burning structure as the now roaring flames started to roll out of several windows and the very door they exited from.
Capturing all this exciting action, the film crew continued recording as the structure was consumed by fire during which time they conducted interviews with several of the firefighters about the camera and how it performs under actual conditions. After the last remnants of the bungalow became only a smoldering memory, the firefighters, film crew and equipment all retired to the Monticello fire station to shoot some more interviews and have lunch.
The video, which will be produced on both VHS and DVD, is scheduled to be finished for the Fire Department Instructor Conference & Show in Indianapolis the first week of March. It will also be featured at the rest of the fire service shows throughout the country including the New York State Chiefs’ Convention in Syracuse in June. The company also plans to distribute the film in both of its formats to potential customers around the world.

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