LAWRENCE — When the Sept. 13 gas explosions and fires occurred in South Lawrence, first responders had no way to immediately gauge the actual scope of the disaster unfolding from their view on the ground.
Police Chief Roy Vasque said it was the gas disaster, which resulted in one death, thousands of forced evacuations and billions of dollars in damage across the region, that was the impetus for the department’s planned purchase of a drone.
A drone is a small, unmanned aircraft that can be controlled from the ground and provide excellent views from above.
The devices have become increasing popular with the military, law enforcement, photographers, retailers and more.
“It would have given us a bird’s eye view of what was really going on … helped us determine the total impact of the explosions,” said Vasque of the gas explosion.
Vasque also pointed to missing persons cases, which are frequently reported in the city.