By Mike DeNardo

HADDON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS) — Camden County today was showing off a new piece of emergency equipment that will help them ventilate smoke and toxic fumes from fires and “hazmat” situations.

This morning, a vacant building in Haddon Township was full of smoke.  But once Camden County’s new mobile ventilation unit was switched on, the air was quickly blown clear.

“The smoke was so dense that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face,” says Mark Simonetti of the county’s Office of Emergency Management.  “We blew out this 12,000-square-foot building in roughly two and a half minutes.”

The $290,000 unit — bought with federal Homeland Security money — is essentially a powerful fan  mounted on the tilt bed of a Ford F-550 truck.

County freeholder Ian Leonard says the beauty is that the unit can be removed from the truck:

“If there’s a high-rise building, a tunnel, say for instance on Patco, you could put it on a rail car, put it in if there was a fire, and clear all the smoke out of the tunnel.  If there’s a ship, you could actually crane it onto a ship if there’s a fire there.”

The unit will be housed in Westmont, NJ, but be available for duty throughout the tri-state area.