‘Smoke Buster’ deployed by Austin FD to pull smoke out of historic Driskill hotel

Austin
The "Smoke Buster" is a mobile ventilation unit that pulls smoke out of building in an effort to mitigate smoke damage, and AFD used it Monday morning for a fire that broke out at the Driskill hotel. (Photo courtesy of AFD)

The “Smoke Buster” is a mobile ventilation unit that pulls smoke out of building in an effort to mitigate smoke damage, and AFD used it Monday morning for a fire that broke out at the Driskill hotel. (Photo courtesy of AFD)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It looks like a huge fan mounted on the back of a truck, and it’s a huge help to Austin Fire Department crews to mitigate smoke damage in buildings.

It’s a mobile ventilation unit dubbed the “Smoke Buster,” and crews used it Monday morning to pull smoke out of the historic Driskill hotel after a small fire broke out on the 10th floor of the building.

AFD posted a picture of the tool on Twitter during its response to the fire.

AFD bought it in 2016 after about 1.5 years of tests, the department said. The department had local engineering students assist in the tests and simulations in large buildings before they landed on this model. The department considered other models from other companies, but eventually bought the one made by Tempest.

The fire shut down part of Brazos Street downtown while crews worked to make sure it was out. The sprinkler system in the building initially put the fire out, and only one room was directly impacted by the fire. The hotel was evacuated as a precaution.

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