Fighting fire with innovation, in tribute to tragedy - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Fighting fire with innovation, in tribute to tragedy

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

An inventor in Richmond has developed a unique fire tank, designed to battle wildfires from up close.

The TFRV-1 Tracked Fire & Rescue Vehicle is 14 feet tall and weighs 80 tons when filled with water. It can hold up to 15,000 gallons.

Heavy-duty tank treads allow it to travel into the fire through almost any terrain to rescue firefighters and civilians.

The TFRV-1 is designed to douse flames through nozzles on all sides of the vehicle, including a maneuverable water cannon, up front.

According to the inventor, Dwayne Stidman, the crew operating the vehicle is protected by nine layers of heat- and fire-resistant materials.

"Wall, insulation, wall, insulation. So you're basically making a reverse oven. We're keeping all the heat out of it."

Stidman funded the vehicle's development with money from his son David's Marine Corps life insurance.

David Stidman survived three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, only to be struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver while riding his motorcycle in Fort Bend County.

"Even in his death, he is still helping other people," said Dwayne Stidman, who hopes the

TFRV-1 will ultimately save lives once it's put into service.

"This vehicle is self-contained," observed Joseph Decker, director of UH's Small Business Development Center. "It can go into a fire, rescue people, fight the fire and come out with people and everybody will be fine."

Decker is helping Stidman find funding to move the TFRV-1 from prototype to production model.

"It's a very timely vehicle," said Decker, "with the number of fires we're seeing throughout the country and the loss of life."

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