Burning Down The House To Sharpen Firefighting Skills - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Burning Down The House To Sharpen Firefighting Skills

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Intentionally setting fire to a house to help save lives in the future, firefighters from several area departments took advantage of a rare training opportunity Sunday. Fire officials say the house fire was a win-win for the fire departments involved in the training exercise, and for the property's new owners, who say they wanted more space.

Firefighters began training there last fall, with speedy and safe ways to enter, search and ventilate the place, and rescue people. Firefighters say this is one of the best ways to learn.

"That's just something you don't see every day," nine-year-old Logan Schmidt said.

Schmidt and his brother, Hunter, have seen a few fires in their days, but they say getting to watch live fire training alongside their dad, Eldridge Fire Chief Tyler Schmidt, is the best way to learn.

"I want to be a firefighter when I grow up, so I kind of get to learn early," Hunter Schmidt said. "So, you're prepared for the real situation. So, you'll know what to do."

Fire officials agree.

"It's always beneficial with the live fire training because it's realistic," Chief Schmidt said.
The Department of Natural Resources allows fire departments at most two live fire trainings per year because of the amount of smoke it creates. This morning, firefighters lit several fires inside the house, with fire trucks on hand in case things got out of control.

"Lit the fires, had them come in to watch it, see how the fire grows," Chief Schmidt said. "Knock it down, and then build it back up, and let the next crews come in."
They repeated the process until the house was completely burned down.

"You're in a real house, so it makes it better than the mock-up stuff we have to do at our station," he said. "We're fortunate out here, in the rural areas, because you're not around other homes."

The nearest fire hydrant is about one and-a-half miles away from the property. The Eldridge, Maysville and Donahue fire departments stocked up on thousands of gallons of water. Eldridge firefighters call this kind of training critical, and say they appreciate these kinds of properties. They say a local farmer has contacted them about their next potential burn.


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