SDFD Debuts New Firehawk Helicopter

The new helicopter is capable of carrying up to 1,000 gallons of water

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San Diego Fire-Rescue unveiled the latest chopper in its arsenal Thursday, boasting of its multi-use functions amid a year-round fire season.

The S-70i Firehawk helicopter, dubbed “Firehawk Copter 3,” can hold up to 1,000 gallons of water – with a total refill time of one minute.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined SDFD Chief Colin Stowell Thursday morning at Montgomery Field to introduce the new addition to the department’s fleet.

“Fire season is now year-round. That’s just a fact of life here in California. And we must do everything we can as a city and as a region to be prepared when the next fire breaks out,” Faulconer said. “That’s where this new Firehawk comes in.”

The helicopter can battle fires, but it can also be used in search and rescue missions with its searchlight and external hoist and cargo hook.

The Firehawk can hold up to 15 people, including its crew of three. This outnumbers SDFD’s other choppers which can hold a total of nine people, including its crew.

“We appreciate the City’s investment in our department which enables us to do our very best when it comes to fire suppression and search and rescue” Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell said. “The helicopters are valuable tools that our exceptionally skilled and highly trained Air Operations crews can use for the benefit of everyone in our region.”

SDFD held a test flight Thursday, dumping a tank of water on the runway.

The San Diego City Council approved the purchase of the helicopter in 2017, which would increase the number of choppers in SDFD’s fleet to three.

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