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April 23, 2010

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On futuristic tower, it's spit that fights the fire

HOW hard was it for Shanghai firefighters to handle the blaze on the top of the Oriental Pearl TV tower when it caught fire last week in a lightning storm?

Well, two firefighters climbed to the top of the futuristic tower and, lacking any other equipment, put out the April 13 fire with their "mouths," said Zhou Jianzhong, a Shanghai Fire Control Bureau official.

The two firemen hauled up extinguishers with them.

But they couldn't hit the swaying tower with the dry powder that sprayed out of the canisters.

Suddenly, the two firemen got an idea when drinking bottled water: Filling their mouths and blowing the mouthfuls out.

Three hours later - spraying mouthful after mouthful of water, and aided by rain - they extinguished the fire.

Zhou disclosed the juicy details yesterday while announcing good news for Shanghai:

The skyscraper-heavy metropolis will buy two professional fire-extinguishing helicopters especially to fight high-rise fires.

Zhou said they'll use the helicopters on fires in high-rises that no fire engines on the ground can reach - a problem highlighted by the Oriental Pearl TV Tower fire.

Zhou said the helicopters can hover around burning buildings and fight fires with attached water cannons.

The city now boasts about 15,000 high-rises.

"If we had such helicopters, it would have been much easier to put out the fire on the TV tower," Zhou said.

He said a mouthful.


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