It was an opportunity that doesn’t come around too often for volunteer members of the Winkler Fire Department Thursday night.  They were able to hone theirwinkler live burn nov202014 6 skills during a controlled burn of a 1,000 square foot home, focusing on 3D fire fighting techniques.  The homeowner, who needed the home demolished, offered the vacant house to the department to use for the live burn exercise.

“The owner let us do this and of course to help him out we burned it to the ground,” said Fire Chief Richard Paetzold.  “We were able to practice our exposure protection and also observe how fire can move through a house, and how applying different water streams you can actually control how a building burns down, if you have to do that demolition by fire.”

Paetzold says this kind of exercise allows them to practice in conditions they would face inside a structure, with real smoke, and real products of combustion.

Paetzold says they had seven rooms or “fire sets” to prepare in the house prior to the exercise.  He says starting the fires one at a time allowed all participating members a chance to practice their techniques.

Paetzold says a lot of preparation goes into getting buildings ready for these live burn exercises.  He says they have guidelines to follow through the National Fire Protection Association that states how to prepare a house to reduce risk.  “We don’t just pile it full of junk, we do take out a lot of stuff.  We get rid of things that could blow up, like pressure tanks, hot water tanks, and we get rid of a lot of the couches….things which can lead to a lot of fire propagation.”  Paetzold says they did leave some things inside to make it more realistic. Reporter Chris Sumner was invited to participate in the exercise, and was allowed to shoot video from inside the home during the first live fire event.

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Pembina Valley Online
Written by CFAM/Country88.9/Eagle93.5FM News on Thursday, 20 November 2014