Fire Department Burns Down Home for Training - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fire Department Burns Down Home for Training

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WAPATO, Wash. -- A home near Wapato was burned to the ground today, but it was intentional. Yakima County District 5 Fire Department used the home for fire training.

Nearly ten area departments assisted in today's training burn.

They use the burn mainly for practice for their experienced firefighters, but it's also an excellent opportunity to introduce their rookies to fighting a real fire.

"This is the real deal as we call it. The only thing that's different is we're controlling what the fire is doing rather than the fire controlling what we're doing," said Training Captain Dave Martin.

For the seven new rookies on the department it's their first time going into a fire. The captain says they are learning today what can't be taught in textbooks.

"It's invaluable," said Martin. "You can't put a price on it. It's an opportunity to go and see what the fire is going to be doing in a controlled situation, where you're ready to go when it's the real deal."

To begin the training the firefighters are broken down into three or four teams. A fire will then be set inside the house.

One team will enter the house and extinguish that fire, while another team waits for them to come out so they go in and put out another fire set in a different location.

Martin says, "When it's all said and done we'll have about 15 that have gone through."

Once the training is done on the inside there will be about 25 firefighters surrounding the house when they burn it completely to the ground.

The fire department relies on donated properties like this to put on these real world training exercises. Without them they are forced to use other alternatives that don't exactly duplicate the conditions they deal with in real fires.

"This house we lucked out with. The people hadn't been out of it very long. So it was a great opportunity, a very sound solid house," said Martin.

The captain is hoping as onlookers stop and watch the burn their interests might be peaked and come will consider volunteering.

District 5 serves over 700 square miles and the turnout for new recruits has been very low. They are hoping they get more volunteers like the eager recruits they had today.

Martin says, "They're very very eager. Its great bunch of guys"

If you are interested in volunteering for the District 5 Department you should contact Captain Dave Martin.

Also if you have a home or building that you think could be used for a training burn just contact your local fire department, but they warn there are costs to prep your home for a training burn.