Group aims to fight fire with ‘ice bombs’

Ozaukee Free Masons donate unique firefighting devices that release mist to cool rooms and can be used to fight blazes before firefighters arrive

A UNIQUE FIREFIGHTING tool that can be deployed before fire engines arrive to suppress flames was donated to the Port police and fire departments Monday by the Ozaukee Free Masons. Showing off the devices during Monday’s Police and Fire Commission meeting were (from left) Mason Tim Schwister, Fire Chief Mark Mitchell, Police Chief Kevin Hingiss and Masons Erwin Wuehr and Sri Vasudevan. Photo by Sam Arendt
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

A unique firefighting tool was donated to the Port Washington police and fire departments Monday by the Ozaukee Free Masons.

“You can’t go wrong by having someone throw this in on a fire,” Fire Chief Mark Mitchell told the Police and Fire Commission.

The Fire Suppression Solutions FST is a small orange case with a black handle. Pull the pin and “bowl” the device into a room where there’s a fire and it will generate an aerosol mist that will immediately cool the temperature of the room, Mason Tim Schwister told the commission.

“It’s like an ice bomb,” Mason Erwin Wuehr, District 10 lecturer, said.

The device helps minimize the amount of water that is needed to extinguish a fire, Mason Sri Vasudevan said.

The device works by releasing a mist that  interrupts the bond between the heat and oxygen molecules, he explained, suppressing the flames.

It doesn’t impact the amount of oxygen in the room, so it can “buy some time” for victims of a fire, Mitchell said.

Vasudevan told the commission that the Masonic Foundation purchased devices for each lodge with the intent that they be passed on to police and fire departments.

“Our goal is to provide as many as possible,” he said.

“They need homes,” Schwister said. “We want these to end up in the communities.

“And hopefully you don’t have to use them.”

But even if the departments use them, Vasudevan said, the gift will continue because insurance companies will replace the units at no cost due to the savings they realize through smaller claims.

The units, which cost about $2,000 and have a 15-year shelf life, are being provided as part of the Masons Act of Kindness program, Schwister said, noting that the local Masonic Lodge bought a second unit so it could offer them to both the police and fire departments.

Mitchell noted that the devices have an impressive track record. The Boltonville Fire Department has used them twice and the Belgium Fire Department once to great success.

The fire department already has two units, he said, noting one is in his vehicle and the other in Assistant Chief Steve Schmit’s vehicle.

The police department also has one that is kept in a squad car, since officers are often the first on the scene of a fire.

“The more squads we have with them, the better,” Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said. “We never know which squad will get there first.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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