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Firefighters honing their chops in abandoned Somerset Elementary building
“That was work,” the spent fireman said as he trudged through the foyer of Somerset Elementary, Halligan bar in hand.
He and two colleagues had just spent the better part of 10 minutes pounding and prying away at a sealed fire door — a door made of heavy steel and set in a steel door frame.
“It’s probably one of the hardest barriers to break through,” said Chris Wagers, the Training Officer for Consolidated Fire District No. 2. “Better to find out what tools work and what don’t in a training setting than in a real fire.”
The exercise was part of two training sessions that Wagers led in the building Friday — an opportunity for fire crews to test rescue and fire-control techniques in a real-world setting, albeit one free of actual fire. Crews practiced venting roofs, breaking through concrete walls, and flowing water.
“We’ll probably end up flowing a few thousand gallons of water in all,” he said. “It give us a chance to practice some hose management techniques and safe approaches.”
Wagers will hold at least two more days worth of training at the building today and Tuesday as part of an agreement with the building’s owner, Hunt Midwest, which is scheduled to demolish it in the coming weeks to make way for a new assisted living facility.
Wagers said opportunities like this provide a great benefit to the community.
“I know the police department has used the facility for practice some, too,” he said. “It’s a great way for us to get our crews some valuable training.”
For more information on CFD2 training, check out Wagers’ blog.
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