Yesterday, a 4 month old baby was saved by miracle from a fire.

The 26 year old Maria-Guadalupe Ippanica was cooking French fries when the frying pan caught fire. The Peruvian immigrant woman, not aware of the correct procedure to stop a fire in a frying pan, poured water in the pan, causing a massive fire ball in the kitchen.

The young lady was burned on both arms and ran out of the house in panic, when she realized her 4 month old baby Kattina was still sleeping in her bedroom. The smoke pouring out of the house prevented her from rescueing her baby and she screamed in despair.

Fire fighter Roger Vandewiele, living next doors, heard the screaming. When he arrived at the scene, he realized it was impossible to save the little baby. “When a house is on fire there is thick smoke which blinds the rescue workers and the cracks of the fire mask any sound. Finding a small child amid this inferno is mission impossible and is extremely dangerous.”

The night before Roger had been working on his SkyBeetle toy helicopter which had some amazing features developed by a group of young engineers who met on the community website of the toy helicopter manufacturer.

“These guys were simulating air-battles and they had installed an infrared camera to their helicopters to find their targets. A special software allowed the helicopter to fly in front of its owner, to detect incoming targets. The infrared images are sent to a set of Google-glasses worn by the helicopter pilot. I had just finished my own prototype based on the instructions posted on the website.” Roger immediately realized the helicopter could help him to locate the child in the thick smoke and didn’t hesitate a second.

“Infrared cameras can look through smoke, so I took the helicopter and entered the house.” The helicopter did a remarkably job, flying in front of me and scanning the different rooms of the house. In no time I found the cradle, took the child and ran out of the house.

Picture of fire-flightesr in front of the house, minutes after Roger Vandewiele rescued a 4 month old baby assisted by a toy helicopter.
4 month old Kattina was brought to the hospital but was found to have no injuries. Her mother will have to remain in the hospital for a few days more.
Little Kattina with her mother in the hospital
As for Roger, he considers he was only doing his duty as a fire-fighter. “I did what I was trained to do. But without my flying assistant, I would never have been able to find the child”.

And maybe, when little Kattina is old enough to tell the story herself, all rescue workers will have a flying assistant as standard equipment.


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