WATCH: Firefighters carry out live house burn in Houghton-le-Spring

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Innovative firefighting equipment is being used across Tyne and Wear to protect the public.

Officers from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service carried out a live burning exercise at a property in Avenue Vivian, Houghton-le-Spring, today to showcase the benefits of the equipment, named Cobra.

The Cobra technology in action. Picture: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

The Cobra technology in action. Picture: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther has hailed the new kit as a way to "save lives in the most efficient and safe way".

In the live incident, which began at 11am, firefighters set the property alight and then let the temperature rise before two fire appliances were called to the scene, as with a genuine emergency call.

A thermal imaging camera is firstly used to identify the location of a fire before a high pressure hose reel water jet system pierces through the wall of a building.

The mist from the hose cools the temperature of the room, allowing firefighters to enter safely and extinguish the blaze.

Firefighters in Avenue Vivian carrying out a live house burning exercise.

Firefighters in Avenue Vivian carrying out a live house burning exercise.

Speaking at the scene, Mr Lowther said the equipment is also more environmentally friendly as it uses less water - 60 litres per minute. Damage to a property is also minimised as most of the water turns to steam, as part of the cold cutting technology.

So far, Cobra is in use at 10 community fire stations across Tyne and Wear - but it is hoped that this will become available in other locations.

"We have a budget that we need to balance, but this is a valuable firefighting tool and [the authority] understands the benefits it gives," the fire officer said.

The equipment has been in use across Tyne and Wear for around six weeks, Mr Lowther added, with staff across the board finding new ways it can work.

Avenue Vivian, Houghton-le-Spring.

Avenue Vivian, Houghton-le-Spring.

He continued: "This is making our firefighters safer, which is the most important thing to me.

"It is another weapon in our arsenal to protect the community."

The fire service recently used the equipment at a fire in Cross Street, Newcastle, which last week claimed one life. It was used by firefighters in the early stages of the blaze as part of the initial investigation.

Mr Lowther added: "We will always risk our lives to save saveable lives and we train very, very hard throughout our careers and make sure our procedures are as safe as they can be, and that the equipment is the best."

The property in Avenue Vivian, Houghton-le-Spring.

The property in Avenue Vivian, Houghton-le-Spring.