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    Blimp's Hot Helium Hind Rises, LB Firefighters Use Physics, Apply Cold Shower

    Blimp 4/11/05

    (April 11, 2005) -- It wasn't the Hindenberg, it was the hind end of a multicolored blimp...whose rear rose while the rest remainded safely tethered, drawing the attention of Monday morning motorists on the nearby 405 freeway and sending the LB Fire Dept. on one of its more bizarre calls.

    LBFD Public Information Officer Capt. Jim Arvizu says it appears the sun's heat began beating down on the blimp, pressurizing the helium, causing the gas to expand and the rear to rise. Firefighters got the call about 8:45 a.m. and used basic physics to solve the problem.

    Blimp 4/11/05

    LB firefighters gave the blimp a cold shower, dousing it with water for about half an hour to cool its helium and lower its hot hiney. It sounds easy...but it took some doing. Truck 7 brought its 85 foot platform; Engine 22's 50 foot "telesquirt" was put to work; Engine 19 handled water supply...and LBFD's Airport rigs 1, 3 and 5 also responded.

    "We probably laid about about 1,500 feet of hose," Capt. Arvizu said. [That's work...over a quarter mile of heavy hose.]

    It worked. The excitement subsided by midmorning.

    And for those curious: the colorful blimp designs are part of the "Soaring Dreams" philanthropic project; young people created the geometric decorations afixed to the airship which is traveling through the area.

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