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Company donates cooling technology to Clearwater Fire Department

Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 01:49:59-04

A Pinellas County company donated a body cooling machine designed to lower a person's body temperature while dealing with extreme heat.

Polar Breeze technology designed a machine to help fight heat exhaustion by lowering a person's body temperature one degree every two minutes.

The machine is like a mini air conditioning unit that will pump cold air through a hose into a firefighter's gear.

On Wednesday, Benjamin Kugler, donated one of the machines to Clearwater Fire and Rescue. The donation comes a month after crews battled a four-alarm fire that sent several firefighters to the hospital to be treated from heat exhaustion.

"We got toned out for that call, I threw gear in the engine and we went on," Doug Wood said. "We didn't know what we were going to at first."

Wood was one of the firefighters captured on video being helped out of the Walmart after suffering from heat exhaustion.

"The crews were there for six to eight hours, and, just a lot of guys were in and out. It wasn't just me. It was a whole team effort for all the departments that were there," he said.

Wood was treated later that day and released.

The Clearwater company met with the fire department and city leaders to demonstrate the machine.

"There's nothing that can do it that fast," said Benjamin Kugler.

The cost of a single unit is about $5,000.