Burning down the house!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2005

For one night, Suffolk firefighters’ lives got a great deal easier.

On Saturday evening, trucks and rescue squads from Holland, Whaleyville and other stations were called to the scene of a fire on White Marsh Road before it even broke out. Wouldn’t their jobs be simpler if every situation was such?

It probably won’t happen anytime soon. But this was a special occasion – it was a training fire to prepare firefighters and paramedics for the &uot;real&uot; thing.


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&uot;This is to keep firefighters sharp in basic skills, rescue techniques, and other capabilities,&uot; said Suffolk Fire Department training division captain Daniel Huffman, who is required to hold two nighttime training sessions a year. &uot;The rescue squad has to follow strict safety rules and regulations.

&uot;This will help you in handling hoses, tools, ladder, and searching houses,&uot; Huffman told the nearly 30 participants. &uot;If you hear air hoses, drop what you’re doing and get out.&uot;

The drill began with several small fires called evolutions, lit with palettes and straw. Teams of fighters went in with hoses and took out the flames.

&uot;Ain’t nothing to it,&uot; said Lee Powell of the Holland station. &uot;I’ve done it before. The first time, you don’t know what to expect. With all that heat, you think it’s going to be terrible, but with the suit, you don’t even recognize it.&uot;

Finally, at about 11 p.m., the house was set ablaze. Teams of fighters waited outside for it to burn for a while before going on the attack. Less than a hour later, it was smoldering.

&uot;Any training fire’s a learning experience,&uot; said Rainey Cross of the North Suffolk station. &uot;You learn about incident command at different scenarios, and that safety is the main priority. Every fire’s different; there’s no guarantee that one fire’s going to be anything like the next one. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you feel.&uot;