Trial by fire: Firefighters train at controlled burn Sunday

PHOTO BY JACOB GURNEY Rescue personnel from multiple fire departments trained during a controlled burn at 11539 West CR 18 Sunday.

Rescue personnel from multiple departments trained during a controlled burn at 11539 W. CR 18 Sunday morning.

Chief Mark DeVault of Bascom Joint Fire District said the training started at 9:41 a.m. and they were at the house until 3 p.m. He said personnel from Bascom Joint Fire District, Fostoria Fire Division, Risingsun Volunteer Fire Department, Washington Township Fire Department, Scipio-Republic Fire Department and Sycamore Volunteer Fire and Rescue participated in the training.

Training Officer Garry Ruble of Bascom Joint Fire District said some guys didn’t have their fire attack training yet, so that is what they focused on. Ruble said he and three instructors from Fostoria Fire Division led the training.

DeVault said while there was some exterior attack training, personnel mostly worked on interior attacks in different rooms throughout the house.

When crews go inside a house, there are different things they are supposed to look for such as feeling the heat and seeing if there’s white or black smoke, he said. DeVault said black smoke is important to watch for because it has the fuel in it.

“There’s a lot of those signs to see,” DeVault said. “Smoke is more or less fuel for the fire. You have to get that cooled down. It’s called ‘reading the smoke.'”

Lt. Greg Keiser of Fostoria Fire Division said firefighters were watching the behavior of the fire in its different stages until it became a free-burning fire.

“They focused on learning fire behavior, handling charged hand lines through a building and working together as a team,” Keiser said.

DeVault said with the way houses are built nowadays, there’s petroleum in everything, which causes buildings to collapse quicker and burn hotter.

“It’s important for the sake of the new guys to get trained,” DeVault said. “Now, they can go inside and help when we do this.”

“The training is a good opportunity for the new guys,” Ruble added. “But it’s good for the other guys as well, because it allows them to refresh their skills.”

Rob Reinhart, the owner of the house, said he is going to build a new house and chose to donate his old one to Bascom Joint Fire District for training. Reinhart said while the house has been in his family since 1946, when his father moved into it, he is excited for new beginnings.

DeVault said the department still maintained its normal coverage during the training because the department kept some of their trucks and firefighters on standby so they would be available if a call were to come in.

“They were still at the training, but didn’t pack up and go inside,” DeVault said. “They provided a support function.”

DeVault said the training was beneficial and he was very grateful for the Seneca County Community Emergency Response Team for assisting with traffic and changing air tanks, the Bascom Fire Ladies Auxiliary for providing food and Bascom EMS for helping check firefighters vitals throughout the training.