A 28-year-old dispatcher at Crandall’s Plumbing received a surprise dumping on October 9th while she stood outside of her office. The helicopter was in the process of conducting aerial firefighting exercises via the use of a bucket when it inadvertently evacuated its contents onto the head of the women.
The woman, Kayla Kuvakas, indicated that as she was seated at her desk between 10 and 11 that morning when she experienced a sudden grumble. The grumble was so pronounced according to Kuvakas that it shook her desk. “It was a really loud sound, and really low,” she stated.
She said that she rose from her desk to walk outdoors to investigate the reverberations when she spotted the helicopter with a red bucket dangling beneath its backside. In an effort to get a better look, Ms. Kuvakas turned her head upward and that’s when the unloading occurred.
Kuvakas stated that “As soon as I looked up, the water dumped on me,” she said. She went on further to indicate that the deluge had left her soaked through. Ms. Kuvakas said that in the midst of the helicopter depositing its aqueous load onto her, she dropped her phone and started running. As she looked back, she saw the helicopter continue to excrete water onto construction workers and other firefighters nearby.
As the barrage of nearly 200 gallons of liquid had left her waterlogged, she proceeded into her office to dry her shirt in a dryer utilized generally for plumbing tools. She has said that her manager had later insisted she leave work. Probably to allow her an opportunity to bathe following her unfortunate suffusion.
Ms. Kuvakas is asking the county to compensate her for a designer wristwatch and her cell phone which shattered when she dropped it to the tune of at least $1000 dollars plus a further $2000 in additional recompense.
According to Fire Authority Battalion Chief Marc Stone, the woman has every right to be upset. He indicated that firefighters missing their mark and depositing the helicopter belly’s tank contents onto civilians could cause significant injury. He added that unintentional dumpings are highly irregular.
The Sheriff’s office in Orange County has confirmed the incident saying that deposits of liquid from buckets via helicopter require skill. However, many have questioned whether this is a one-off or something to be concerned about in the event of a real fire. According to Fire Chief Stone, misses do happen, and that it’s imperative that the spontaneous jettison that inundated Ms. Kuvakas does not happen routinely. He added further, carded pilots do not expel their contents onto civilians.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Bart Epley, the pilot, said he was conducting firefighting simulations and had pulled at least 150 gallons that morning from a nearby water source. He said while he was engaged in training with the helicopter, he released his contents prematurely which ultimately ended up bathing Ms. Kuvakas in liquid. Sgt. Epley further stated that Ms. Kuvakas was hit by spray and not a direct discharge. He went on to comment further confirming that the more he is able to practice, the more accurate his aim will become, “It’s like anything else; as you go on you get better,“ he said.