Firefighters Fight a Real House Fire in Training


AUGUSTA COUNTY (WHSV) Firefighters got real experience putting out a house fire. A WHSV reporter spent the day with the firefighters to learn about the training.

The developers at Myers Corner were going to tear down the house firefighters used in Friday's training.

There's a reason the firefighters didn't rush for their hoses when the building lit up in flames.

"You can do all the hands-on stuff in the classroom and on the training grounds, at a safe, controlled environment, but you still have that initial shock-and-awe the first time you actually do it for real," said Chris Shaver, a fire training captain for Augusta County Fire and Rescue.

A firefighter at the event described what skills he'd need.

"Breaching walls, doing mayday, coming out the window, swinging around on the ladder, getting out, just in case something went bad," said Brad Markin, a volunteer firefighter at the event.

Shaver said why this training was so important.

"We've got a great training facility, but it just doesn't provide the realism that a real property does, when we actually put a real hole through the dry wall, or pull down a ceiling or take out glass in a real window or put a ladder to it," said Shaver.

They set the house on fire, so they could watch how the fire grew.

"That's one of the things that we have to learn, as firefighters, is not only what do we see, but what are we going to see in 10 minutes, and try to predict where to go next so we can try to get there and cut it off and work our way back,” said Shaver.

New volunteer firefighters, who haven't yet seen their first big fire, were also at the event.

"Being here and being able to actually do it here is fantastic and will provide a big eye-opener for these folks, rather than it being the first time they go to a house fire," said Shaver.

Markin described what it feels like to fight a fire.

"Every time I go out the door, my adrenaline's pumping," said Markin.

Valuable training that helps them better understand the very thing they fight.

"We train every day. But you can train all you want, you can never be ready, and learn all you want, but nobody knows everything," said Markin.

One reason the firefighters here say the training is so valuable is they don't get to practice this stuff everyday. They say they don't have a lot of fires to respond to and the way houses are built nowadays, they burn quickly.


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