Controlled Burn in Biloxi Used to Train Firefighters

Contributor: Nick Patrick
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Updated: 2/19/2014 8:09 pm
A raging fire in the middle of Biloxi is usually cause for concern, but today it was the men and women who fight those fires who had a direct hand in starting the blaze. John Jennings, Deputy Chief of the Biloxi Fire Department, says, "So a lot of what we’re going to be doing today is just making a big bonfire and our main priority is going to be protecting that house to the north, which we will be able to do."

For weeks, Biloxi firefighters have trained in this abandoned house, performing search and rescue missions in rooms filled with smoke and flames. Jeff Merrill, Deputy Chief, says, "We've been using it as a training evolution for probably about a month now. We've been doing some search and rescue and some general training evolutions." This exercise has been crucial in training some new recruits for the fire department who still haven't quite gotten their feet wet. Merrill also says, "Most of these guys are rookies who have been here less than a month, so this is a great opportunity as well to see what we do as a department." The heat from the fire was incredible.

News 25 could not get too close to the building due to the intense heat. Despite the blazing heat, it’s something the firefighters, especially the rookies, need to experience. Joe Boney, Fire Chief, says, "This is training that very, very seldom you get and we have six rookies that are working this too, so it’s really worked out very well." This fire was just a practice run, but it could soon become a real life situation, and this training, could make the difference between life and death in the future. The burn went as planned, with no damage to the surrounding property. There are currently no plans for the future of the abandoned house.

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