There are many ways to get rid of a house, but one of the more educational (and dramatic) is donating it to the local fire department so they can burn it down. Not only does the owner not have to worry about its removal (well, most of it anyway), but the area firefighters use it for training purposes.
On Sunday, June 9, at 5:30 a.m., firefighters gathered at 636 Bagaduce Road and began a series of training exercises that ultimately culminated with a full-on structure fire. The home, donated by Oliver Carr, served as a Class A training burn for approximately 20 new recruits from Brooklin, Brooksville, Bucksport, Deer Isle, Orland, Penobscot and Surry. Live fire training signals the end of a long series of training sessions for the recruits, explained Brooksville Fire Chief Matt Dow, who said that the course is taught by area fire chiefs.
The training exercise incorporated all aspects of a typical firefighting experience, allowing the recruits to experience the full range of required activities without the stress of an emergency situation. A team of first responders, led by Brooklin First Responder Paul Gallo, organized a station to take and record the vital signs of the firefighters. Gallo observed the trainees, asking questions and instructing them while in the field. Safety officer Chrissy Ebert of the Sedgwick Fire Department kept track of who was inside the building at all times, taking and giving identification tags as trainees entered and exited the structure.
Deer Isle firefighter Jim Foley took overall command of the scene, organizing the many different groups as they made their way through six different exercises and then the controlled structure fire.
Fire chiefs, assistant chiefs, lieutenants and captains from neighboring departments were present to help instruct the new recruits and run the needed equipment, taking the time to explain what was happening and why. Blue Hill firefighter Dave Gulya said that hands-on training gives the recruits an opportunity to put the skills they have learned in their training materials to practical use.
One such skill practiced during the training was called hydraulic ventilation, or forced ventilation, which allows smoke accumulated in a building to be forced out an opening such as a door or window using the pressure generated from the water hose.
While there is likely to soon be 20 new firefighters in the towns named above, volunteerism at the departments is still very low, said Dow, and he encourages all those interested to reach out and contact their local departments, which all need more help. “You don’t have to fight fires to be part of the fire department,” said Dow. “We need flaggers and drivers; there are many more things that people can do beside putting on a suit and going into a burning building.”