Live burn offers valuable fire training

Fire training experience
Photo by Lee Krohn
An invaluable training experience presented itself to Shelburne and Charlotte Firefighters on Saturday, Oct. 5 when the former Waldorf School in Charlotte was purposely set ablaze. Fire crews spent time earlier this month training inside the building with thermal imaging cameras in heavy smoke situations.

LEE KAHRS
Shelburne News

Firefighters from Shelburne and Charlotte were able to practice fighting the real thing during a live training burn of the former Waldorf School on Ferry Road in Charlotte last week.

Shelburne firefighter Lee Krohn said that the departments spent the past month in flame/heat/smoke conditions with thermal imaging cameras, search and rescue, and other firefighting skills.

“It can be a rare opportunity, accepted gratefully, for training in more realistic conditions,” Krohn said.

Then on Saturday, Krohn said the building was prepped for more intensive live fire training, where multiple small crews were sent in to practice firefighting skills in more intense heat/flame/smoke conditions.

“It’s an immensely valuable training experience to go in when there is real fire approaching, to feel the heat, experience the extremely limited visibility where you can barely see your firefighting partner an arm’s length away… and to experience the extreme heat and flame conditions in a simulated but quite realistic basement fire,” he said. “You just don’t get to practice and experience that very often (a good thing in the real world) and in a more controlled environment than in a real structure fire.”

Charlotte Fire & Rescue, Shelburne Volunteer Fire Department, Shelburne Rescue, and members from Hinesburg Volunteer Fire Department and Ferrisburgh Volunteer Fire Department all participated in the live training fire.

“It’s also a great opportunity to work together with other departments who are part of our overall mutual aid system, and to learn from each other,” Krohn said. “It’s a long day for sure, even longer for those who worked at other times to prepare the building for all of the trainings and then this day.”

Krohn also thanked the Charlotte Auxiliary, which “always puts on a great spread for lunch during trainings.”

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