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Stabilizing device designed by firefighters 'helping the fire service globally'

Connecticut-made TL-9 stabilizer aiding those in the rescue world

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Two longtime friends and fellow firefighters teamed up to invent a device that has been going the extra mile for firefighters responding to calls like vehicle rollovers. 

Tony Leca and Paul DeBartolomeo came up with the idea for the TL-9 Stabilizer about six years ago. The steel device is small but mighty, at just six inches by six inches.

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The TL-9 is used in conjunction with a hydraulic spreader -- or Jaws of Life -- to provide a more stable base when rescuers are doing their life-saving work.

“Basically it’s just a footplate for the Jaws of Life, so we can go ahead and make a safe, effective lift on vehicles when people are trapped underneath,” Leca said.

Leca was a long-time Waterbury firefighter, who has spent the last decade working at the West Hartford Department. DeBartolomeo has been with the New York Fire Department for over two decades. Both have seen their invention take off.

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“We’re in 34 or 35 states, we’re in Canada, we’re in Australia, we’re in Taiwan, we are everywhere,” Leca said.

DeBartolomeo added that their patented technology is “helping the fire service globally.”

“It’s unbelievably rewarding when we get that phone call or text or email that says the device was used yet again and the outcome was successful… and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished,” DeBartolomeo said.

To learn more about the Tl-9 Stabilizer click here.

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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