Rockford Fire Dept. brings in drone to stop smoldering warehouse - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Rockford Fire Dept. brings in drone to stop smoldering warehouse fire

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Drone video over warehouse fire Drone video over warehouse fire
ROCKFORD (WREX) -

It's been more than a day and a half and a Rockford warehouse is still burning. Fire crews have gone high tech to try to figure out where the flames are coming from. But all this is affecting nearby businesses.

Smoke and steam is still billowing up from the debris that was the Asher Tool building. The 11th Street warehouse caught fire 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. It spread to the warehouse next door. Though both are destroyed there are still hotspots burning in the rubble. That's where this drone comes in. It's helping to get aerial video of the fire.

"We are going to look back and use some GPS coordinates to see if we can really truly put them on a map and work to identify those and suppress those hotspots," says Division Chief Matt Knott.

At the same time, Rockford Fire investigators are trying to figure out how this all started. It's believed that at the time of the fire the building was locked and secure. There was a sprinkler system but they do not know if it worked correctly.

"At this time everything is still a possibility," says Knott.

Fences are going up around both buildings while the investigation continues. As the fire department works on securing the scene and the fire itself businesses say the road barricades have been bad news for them.

Tony's Auto Repair is right next to the Asher Tool building. The manager was forced to send workers home two days in a row because of the fire.

"We were closed the whole day yesterday and today it seems like we're closed because the streets are still closed so we have no traffic so nobody knows were still open," says Juan Sena, manager.

The repair shop usually gets between 20 and 30 cars in a day, Wednesday, there were two. Sena says usually this cold weather would mean even more repairs. Instead he's had to tell tow trucks to bring cars to other shops because they can't make it through the barricades. However, he's taking the whole situation in stride because he knows it could have ended very differently.

"If the wind blew north, our business probably would not have been here still," says Sena.

The fire departments expect to reopen 11th Street by Wednesday night.

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