As wildfires blaze, retired firefighter turned inventor touts 'Barricade' fire gel technology

Posted at 5:51 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 19:10:00-05

Martin County homeowners are in the clear for now after wildfires get too close for comfort earlier this week. 

The lingering threat leaves many wondering what happens next time a blaze sparks up in their backyard. 

“A lot of homeowners think there's nothing they can do with a wildfire coming at their house, and in fact there's a lot they can do,” said retired firefighter John Bartlett.

Bartlett has invented a fire gel called ‘Barricade.’

It was an idea born out of something he noticed while responding to a trash fire 20 plus years ago
“We saw what…looked like un-burned tissue paper,” he said. “So we picked it up and we analyzed it…turns out that was actually the remains of what had been a wet, stinky disposable baby diaper."

When mixed with water, it provides a barrier against flames. 

“Think of it like a whole bunch of wet sticky sponges,” he said.

News Channel 5 tested out the technology, as Bartlett took several items, and sprayed half the surface with Barricade, leaving the other half dry. 

After the items were blasted with flames, only the parts covered in ‘Barricade’ survived.

“We can do this…wash it off into the ground,” he said. “It's been approved to do that in any national park ground, that's how safe it is.”

Bartlett said FPL has been using barricade for years to cover their power poles when wildfires threaten.  

As those fires begin to spark up in our area and in the state, interest in his product has expanded. 

“It’s just like maybe hurricane preparations,” Bartlett said. “We think about protecting our house from hurricanes, we also need to think about protecting our house from wildfires.”