Toy drone creates new issues for firefighters

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Fire Department rolled out its hook and ladder truck to retrieve a drone from Golden Gate park over the weekend. Some say drone duty is a poor use of time for firefighters.

One woman who was here when it happened says she stumbled upon the firefighters and onlookers cheering as they carried something down the ladder.

She thought it was a child or perhaps an animal, but she was puzzled when she realized they used their resources for a drone.

"It's kind of funny because it's not a living thing. It's a machine pretty much. A robot," said Shay Edmonds, a San Francisco resident.

But could drones be the new 'cat stuck in a tree?'

San Francisco firefighters responded to an unusual call when a kid got his unmanned aerial vehicle tangled in a tree at Golden Gate Park.

Firefighters climbed up their ladder to retrieve it.

"Whatever the situation is, we try to help whenever and however we can when we're called upon to do that," explained Mindy Talmadge with the SFFD. She says they did the right thing.

In this case, Talmadge says there were no emergencies in the city and the rescue could assist them for the next time around.

"It gives our crews the opportunity to put the aerial up. We drill on our equipment all the time. So we would use it as a drill really," she said.

But not everyone agrees.

Resident Eileen Borgeson said, "There are many more places firemen should be putting their time and energy. I think it's a waste."

"Unless there were some other circumstances like a danger to the public or the drone falls on someone out of the tree. Otherwise it's a little surprising," said Bruce Lindl.

Talmadge says in this case, it did not cost them any extra money as firefighters were already in the area.

Currently, there's no policy in place how to handle calls for drone service in the city but Talmadge says if they start getting more calls, they'll have to come up with one.
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