BLAZE DETOURS BRAVEST ON WAY TO TV DEMO OF NEW RADIOS



May 31, 2004 -- Two firefighters scheduled to go on television yesterday to demonstrate the department's new radios showed up a little late - they stopped to fight a fire.

Battalion Chief Jim Hodgen of Engine Co. 54 and one of the firefighters under his command were headed to NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza to show how the new equipment makes it easier for firefighters on upper floors of skyscrapers to communicate with their colleagues on the ground.

But when the radios in their truck broadcast word of a fire nearby on West 48th Street, they went there instead. It turned out to be a minor electrical fire in a five-story building where they didn't even need to use their new radios.

After helping to extinguish it, they did the demonstration.

Meanwhile, Mayor Bloomberg said the upgraded radios are still being tested by fire units but are expected to be in full operation by the end of the summer.

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