Product could help fire stations put out flames in seconds


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and photojournalist KENNETH NULL and

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on August 14, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 14 at 6:25 PM

AUSTIN -- Travis County Emergency Services District Number 4 tested out a new product on Tuesday. When mixed with water, it can protect a structure of trees from catching fire. It can also put out a blaze in seconds.

Tetra KO looks like powder and is corn starch-based. The fire chief of the Travis County Fire Station in East Austin told KVUE he has never seen anything like it.

"I can already see the benefits to it. So it's really a 'no brainer' as they say. I'll be moving forward on this," Travis County ESD Fire Chief Florencio Soliz said.

When you mix Tetra KO with water it becomes a gel that extinguishes fire in seconds.

During a demonstration on Tuesday, firefighters set a stack of hay and plywood on fire. One side was coated with Tetra KO; the other was not. The side with the product did not burn at all.

A firefighter with the product mixed it with water and put out the fire in the blink of an eye. The wood was even cool enough to touch after it had been put out.

Tetra KO allows firefighters to use 10 times less water, and extinguishes fires five to 10 times faster than similar foam products on the market. It is also half the price of those products.

"It actually sprays like water even though it's a thick gel. [It] uses a very similar technology to hand sanitizer where sanitizer in a bottle is a thick gel, but it pumps as a fluid liquid and then it reverts back to a gel in your hand," CEO of Tetra KO, LLC Doug Ruth said.

Officials say Tetra KO is also biodegradable and non-toxic. It washes away in the rain.

Travis County expects to order the product within the next few days.