James “Jaws” O’Donnell, 40 year veteran of the Chicago Fire Dept, worked on a truck most of his career starting on the west side. He drove Truck 3 for 15 yrs and spent 6 yrs on Flying Manpower Squad 6. He worked at O’Hare Airport for 2 yrs and retired from Engine 79 in 1990.
While working on the west side in the early 60’s, he was in a bad fire. He was venting with the nozzle (while breathing off the stream- no air packs) and listening to the crew behind him. The crew stated “We got it, we got it.” At this time he saw a larger window and stopped ventilation momentarily to break out the glass. During this time the attack crew stated, “We’re losing it! We’re losing it!” He resumed vent out the larger window and the attack crew stated, “We got it.” That was when he started to think there has to be a better and safer way.
1985 started work on Hydrovent with son Kevin. Created and tested many prototypes. Ventilation only Kevin “Little Jaws” O’Donnell joined Franklin Park Fire Department in 1988 and Hoffman Estates Fire Department in 1990. He was promoted to Lieutenant and Technical Rescue Team Leader in 2005.
During testing of the Hydrovent, it was found that another nozzle facing inward would greatly increase the effectiveness of the Hydrovent. The inward nozzle decreased temperatures and suppressed the fire greatly. The enhanced prototypes have been made and repeatedly tested.
Hydrovent was made for Firefighters by Firefighters to make our job safer.