Billerica Fire Chief: $146K Bequest Is 'Manna From Heaven'

billerica fire department

Billerica Fire Headquarters. (Karyn Regal/WBZ NewsRadio)

BILLERICA, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Billerica Fire Chief Robert Cole was stunned after a woman named Sylvia Cabral left half her estate to his department.

Chief Cole didn't know Sylvia Cabral, and doesn't know why she left $146,000 to his department—but he's delighted, and wishes very much that he could thank her.

"It's an incredible amount of money for us," Cole said.

Cabral died 20 years ago, but her estate was just settled recently. She left the money to the Billerica Fire Department in her will, with the stipulation that it be used on equipment like infrared cameras or goggles.

That's just what the money will be used for. Cole said the department will purchase masks with built-in thermal infrared imaging cameras that free up a firefighter's hands.

"It recognizes the temperature differential with anything in a room, or anything in your field of vision," he said. "A small difference in temperature is gonna show up in different colors, which give an image of a person, something on fire, a piece of furniture."

Right now, the department only has one piece of equipment like that on each truck, but soon, everyone will have one.

"There is only one, so generally the officer will carry the camera and be able to direct other firefighters to wherever we need to go to find the fire, to find a victim," Chief Cole said. "This new technology will hopefully allow all of our members to have that ability to see."

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WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports

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