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The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service deployed its new drone for the first time to help fight a fire in the North End.

Crews responded to a report of a fire at 702 Selkirk Avenue at around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. When they arrived on scene crews found the fire well involved.rsz asstchiefWFPS Assistant Chief Jason Shaw speaks at the scene of the Selkirk Avenue fire

"The incident commanders decided to do a defensive strategy based on the incident action plan. As they started moving forward they recognized that they may be able to use a new piece of technology that we have, which is a drone that we launched in July of this year," explained Jason Shaw, assistant chief with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS).

This is the first time that the WFPS has deployed its drone since it was launched.

"With the drone’s help, the commander of the scene was better able to critically assess the dangers of this fire and direct the crews to target the fire in a more efficient manner," said Shaw. "This is a great example of how our department is using technology to increase safety for our crews and also create better outcomes for citizens."

All residents of the building self-evacuated prior to crew arrival and were assisted by City of Winnipeg Emergency Social Services. No injuries were reported. Currently, two cats remain missing.

Due to the extensive damage of the building, the remaining structure will be demolished today.

There is no word on a cause or damage estimate at this time.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Fires are not the only situations that the drone can be used in, there are a variety of scenarios including water rescues, hazardous materials response, and wildland fire monitoring. It can also be used in post incident analysis and investigation.

Funding for the approximately $44,037 UAV program came from the Innovation Capital Fund. The WFPS currently has four trained pilots on each shift.

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