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Springfield Firefighter Creates Invention to Help Colleagues Safely Fight Fires on Roofs

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — A Springfield firefighter has unveiled his new invention that he hopes will save lives across the country and world.

It’s a portable tool that firefighters can use while attacking fires from rooftops.

Capt. Robert Duffy is taking a big step in saving lives.

The 19-year veteran of the Springfield Fire Department was all too aware of the dangers posed when fighting fires from rooftops

“One night, I was in bed and the idea came to me. I got up about 2 in the morning and sketched the idea out on a piece of paper. The next day, I got up and built a crude prototype,” Duffy explains.

A prototype for what would become the “Quick Step Anchor,” a portable step that firefighters could wedge into roofs while they work to cut holes to release superheated air

“All you do is drag it up the roof until you get to cuts and it pretty much seats itself out. Put your hooks right in there and now this step is anchoring into the roof. Its not going anywhere,” says Duffy.

It also is strong enough to support the firefighter if he or she slips off the roof.

“There was a firefighter in Springfield that fell off the roof about 10 years ago, a friend of mine, and he was in the hospital with life threatening injuries,” Duffy notes.

With demand for his invention growing, Duffy held out, insisting that the device to manufactured locally. He chose an Indian Orchard company to put it into production.

“Originally, it was just a prototype, but now it’s turned into a revenue stream for us,” says Richard Kowalski of Jesko Tool and Knife.

Duffy has pumped a lot of his own money into the “Quick Step,” but he wont be selling the first two that go into service.

Those will be a gift to his fellow firefighters.

“He’s generously donating this. It’s well over a $2,000 donation. Springfield will be the first. I assume this will take off across the country, if not the world,” says Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Duffy notes, “It’s an honor for me to come up with this idea to try to help save the lives of people that save lives for a living.”

Duffy says the “Quick Step Anchor” will be showcased at firefighting conventions. He says it’s already drawn interest from fire departments across the country and Canada.

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